French Violinist, Composer and Conductor • Born December 25, 1745, Bailiff, Guadeloupe • Died June 10, 1799, Paris, France • European Classical
Saint-Georges was of mixed race; his father was a Noble French plantation owner in Guadeloupe, and his mother was enslaved, a Senegalese from Africa.
When Saint-Georges was 10 years old, his family moved from Guadeloupe to Paris, France. There Saint-Georges was given the finest schooling in academics, music and sports.
Saint-Georges was an exceptional athlete: a runner, skater, dancer, marksman, horseman and swimmer and he gained fame all over Europe as a fencing master.
Saint-Georges was a violin virtuoso, composer and conductor and was considered one of the most talented musicians of his time. He was the first composer of African heritage to write “classical” music.
Saint-Georges wrote more than 236 pieces including eight operas, ten violin concertos, and 115 other songs; his works had a big impact on the music of his day.
In France, he was given many opportunities as the son of a nobleman but also faced discrimination in his conducting career because he was bi-racial.
Saint-Georges’ unique style of writing using the French Symphonie Concertante, which features two or three soloists contrasting with full orchestra, is said to have influenced Mozart after his visit to Paris in 1778.
Saint-George interacted with many important people of his day including royalty, composers and noblemen. Several composers had such a high regard for him that they wrote songs for him or dedicated their pieces to him.
Later in life, Saint-Georges became commander of a colored regiment in the French Revolution and led many battles.
Saint-Georges died due to complications of a kidney condition.
“The Wailin’ Jennies” by seniwati is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Members: Heather Masse, Nicky Mehta, and Ruth Moody • Canadian Band • Year formed: 2002 • Folk/Bluegrass
Based in Winnipeg, Canada
Although they’re known as a Canadian-based band, only Nicky Mehta was born there. Heather Masse is American and Ruth Moody was born in Australia and moved to Canada at eight months old
Group’s name is a pun on the name of country singer Waylon Jennings, although Jennings never influenced the group; someone else actually gave them the name!
All three contribute to the writing of their songs
In addition to their successful band career, each is also an accomplished solo artist
They perform a cappella and with instruments; collectively, they play acoustic guitar, accordion, banjo, bodhran (Irish drum), ukulele, upright bass, and piano
The group became increasingly famous through their appearances on Garrison Keiler’s Prairie Home Companion radio program
The Wailin’ Jennys have won awards for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year, and several songs have topped the Billboard Bluegrass Charts
“I feel as strongly about the importance of music and the arts, as well as music and arts education, as just about anything. My mom is an amazing music teacher and so [my family] grew up with her [educational] influence and I think she probably is my greatest influence.”