Tafel Talks: Joseph Bologne, Black & Classical

Wed May 19 at 7pm EDT Online

Who was Joseph Bologne and why has his music been neglected for centuries? Our conversation explores the music, life, and legacy of the influential Black violinist and composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Our panel of contributors from New York, Nassau, and Toronto will unpack Bologne’s significance within past and current contexts and discuss the impact of systemic racism in music history. 

The son of a wealthy plantation owner and his mistress, an enslaved woman on the plantation in Guadeloupe, Bologne resisted enormous adversities of class and race throughout his life. He eventually rose to the pinnacle of Parisian society to become one of France’s heroes and a highly regarded 18th-century musical figure. 

Thanks to the work of a number of music scholars, including our moderator Marlon Daniel, the world is experiencing a resurgence of interest in Bologne and his music, including a Disney film treatment. In Toronto, this revival began two decades ago with Tafelmusik’s Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon, an early advocate of Bologne’s music. “His writing is very virtuosic and it’s clear that he could move around the instrument very easily. He had no technical limitations whatsoever,” she said. Lamon programmed Bologne’s music in concerts and directed Tafelmusik in the *2003 audio recording and DVD documentary produced by Media Headquarters. 

As the classical music world reckons with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we invite you to join us for this conversation about the contributions of Joseph Bologne and the ways in which he continues to inspire us today. 

* In June 2021, in order to properly centre the composer’s achievements, Tafelmusik will be reissuing the digital audio recording under a new title, The Music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Newly commissioned album artwork by Toronto painter Gordon Shadrach and an essay by Marlon Daniel will accompany the re-release. Read our full release here.

Single-ticket purchasers will be able to re-access the event for a full 48 hours after the original broadcast time until May 21, 2021 at 6:59pm EDT.

Please note: a $1 service fee applies to each transaction.

Meet the Panelists

Recommended Reading & Resources


Dr. Christine Gangelhoff (Nassau), leading scholar on Caribbean classical composers, flutist, founder of C Force chamber ensemble, andAssociate Professor of Music at The University of The Bahamas.

Tanya Charles Iveniuk (Toronto)violinist with roots in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and member of Ensemble du Monde (Guadeloupe), Toronto Mozart Players, Sinfonia Toronto, and the Odin Quartet. Faculty member at University of Toronto-Faculty of Music, The Regent Park School of Music, and Axis Music.

Patrick G. Jordan (Toronto), Tafelmusik violist and member of the Eybler Quartet and Gallery Players of Niagara. Faculty member at the Glenn Gould School.


Marlon Daniel (New York), conductor, leading scholar on the music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, and Artistic and Music Director for the Festival International de Musique Saint-Georges.