In celebration of Black History Month, Early Music Vancouver presents the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Le Mozart Noir: Symphonies by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Mozart & Haydn (Feb 4) at the Vancouver Playhouse. Here are five reasons why you should go:
1. African Ancestry
One of the greatest composers of the early classical period, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was the son of a slave and one of the earliest musicians of the European classical tradition to have African ancestry. Boulogne overcame adversities of class, race, and prejudice to become a major musical star all over Europe, inspiring both Mozart and Haydn
2. A Diverse Programme
The Vancouver programme will feature two sets of concerti by Saint-Georges, a concerto by Leclair, and symphonies by Mozart and Haydn. The Haydn composition is one of the Paris Symphonies (Number 85 “La Reine”), which Saint-Georges himself directed at its 1787 world premiere.
3. World Renowned Talent
Monica Huggett, revered violinist, will join the Pacific Baroque Orchestra as a soloist for two of the concerti. Monica performed for Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music and also worked as a session musician on the Rolling Stones single “Angie.”
4. Free Screening of Documentary
Prior to the concert, Early Music Vancouver will host a free, open-to-the-public screening of a Canadian-made documentary on Saint-George’s life, featuring Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra at 6:30pm.
5. Celebrating a Forgotten Figure
An almost forgotten figure in musical history, Saint-George was a champion fencer, virtuoso violinist, accomplished composer, and conductor of the leading orchestra in Paris. He spent six years at La Boëssiére’s Royal Academy of Arms, beginning a trajectory that would establish him not only as the leading violinist of his time, but also as a champion fencer throughout Europe, and as a respected military commander in the Revolution. Saint-Georges received the highest tributes and accolades from the greatest composers of the era and assumed leadership of the revered ‘Concert des Amateurs’ orchestra in 1773.