May 5, 2021

The Music of Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges

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Landmark recording devoted to influential Black 18th-century composer to be reissued on June 18

Countdown to reissue includes Joseph Bologne: Black & Classical Tafel Talks online panel discussion and the unveiling of a new portrait of Bologne by Toronto painter Gordon Shadrach

Toronto, May 5, 2021 … On June 18, 2021, Tafelmusik will reissue its 2003 landmark recording devoted to the music of Joseph Bologne, the influential Black 18th-century composer. With the goal of properly centring the composer’s achievements, the digital audio release will be reissued under a new title, The Music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Tafelmusik has acknowledged that the original title (Le Mozart Noir) and the re-release artwork contributed to and facilitated the erasure of Joseph Bologne and his legacy. Newly commissioned album artwork by Toronto painter Gordon Shadrach and an essay by American conductor and Bologne scholar Marlon Daniel will accompany the re-release. The Music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges will be available on major digital platforms starting June 18.

As part of its commitment to reframing and contextualizing the work of Saint-Georges, Tafelmusik has engaged Marlon Daniel as a consultant on this project. A champion of works by composers of African descent, he is the Artistic and Music Director of the Festival International de Musique Saint-Georges and has given numerous lectures on the composer in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and at institutions that include Columbia and Yale Universities.

In addition to working with Tafelmusik on the album’s reissue and penning a new forward, Daniel will moderate Joseph Bologne: Black & Classical, a Tafel Talks online panel discussion about the music of Saint-Georges at 7pm EDT on May 19, 2021. Daniel and panelists Dr. Christine Gangelhoff (Nassau), violinist Tanya Charles Iveniuk (Toronto), andTafelmusik violist Patrick G. Jordan (Toronto) will unpack Bologne’s significance within past and current contexts and discuss the impact of systemic racism in music history. Tickets for Joseph Bologne: Black & Classical are $5 and are now on sale at tafelmusik.org.  

“Tafelmusik is extremely grateful for the guidance and insight that Marlon Daniel has provided as we navigate the process around reframing and contextualizing our approach to the life and music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges,” said Carol Kehoe, Executive Director. “As the classical music world reckons with issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we invite you to join us in exploring the significant contributions of Joseph Bologne and the ways in which he continues to inspire us today.”

Who was Joseph Bologne and why has his music been neglected for centuries? The son of a wealthy plantation owner and his mistress, an enslaved woman on the plantation in Guadeloupe, Bologne confronted enormous adversities around 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 scholars, musicians, and BIPOC activists, the world is witnessing a resurgence of interest in Bologne and his music, including a new Disney film directed by Canadian Stephen Williams, whose credits include the films Soul Survivor and Milgaard and the televisions series Watchmen, Counterpart, and Westworld.

Tafelmusik’s Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon was an early advocate of Bologne’s music, which she programmed in concerts. Lamon also directed Tafelmusik in the original 2003 audio recording on CBC Records and DVD documentary produced by Media Headquarters. “His writing is very virtuosic and it’s clear that he could move around the instrument very easily. He had no technical limitations whatsoever,” Lamon said in the documentary, which has been broadcast on CBC, BBC, TV5, and ARTV among others. The film has garnered a number of distinctions including Winner of the Banff World Television Award, Finalist for the The Golden Rose of Montreux, and five Gemini Award Nominations.

The Music of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges digital album includes orchestral excerpts from the composer’s opera L’amant anonyme, the Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 3, no. 1, and the Symphony in G Major, op. 11, no. 1 by Saint-Georges; the Allegro from the Violin Concerto in F Major, op. 10, no. 4 by Leclair; and the Symphony in D Major, op. 5, no. 5, “Pastorella” by Gossec. Jeanne Lamon, Linda Melsted, and Geneviève Gilardeau are the featured violin soloists.

Gordon Shadrach’s brand-new portrait of Bologne, Opus 7, will grace the cover of the reissued digital album. The portrait is informed by Shadrach’s lifelong fascination with the semiotics of clothing and its impact on culture. In particular, his interest lies in the intersection and codification of race and fashion—codes that impact the way we navigate through spaces and influence how people associate with one another. Shadrach’s portraits of Black men utilize fashion—contemporary or historical dress—in order to pull viewers in to explore the biases embedded in North American culture. Shadrach seeks to disrupt the colonial constrictions of portraiture by inviting viewers to reflect upon the depiction of Black people in art and culture.

Listing information:

TAFEL TALKS:
Joseph Bologne: Black & Classical
The music, life and legacy of the 18th-century violinist and composer
May 19, 2021 at 7pm EDT online
Panel discussion with Dr. Christine Gangelhoff, Tanya Charles Iveniuk, and Patrick G. Jordan, moderated by Marlon Daniel
Discussion will be followed by a short Q&A

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.

Ticket price: $5

Website: tafelmusik.org

Social Media: Join the conversation on Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

ABOUT THE TAFEL TALKS PANELISTS

Dr. Christine Gangelhoff (Nassau), leading scholar on Caribbean classical composers, flutist, and founder of C Force chamber ensemble. Associate Professor of Music at The University of The Bahamas and author of the textbook Tour de Force: A Musical Journey of the Caribbean.

Tanya Charles Iveniuk (Toronto), violinist with roots in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and member of Ensemble du Monde (Ensemble-in-Residence at the Festival International de Musique Saint-Georges), 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.

ABOUT MARLON DANIEL

American conductor Marlon Daniel is a protégé of the renowned Finnish pedagogue Jorma Panula. He has been described as “a natural and enormous talent” by the Chicago Sun-Times and as “fabulous and exceptional” by Pravda – Moscow. He is one of the most dynamic conductors of his generation and is a bright light for diversity in the world of classical music. He has performed in prestigious venues in Asia, Europe and the United States, from Carnegie Hall to the Rudolfinum.

A laureate of the 2018 Bucharest Symphony Orchestra International Conducting Competition, he has also a recipient of the ‘Voice of the Artist’ Award from the United Nations in recognition of his charitable work bringing awareness to the crisis in Darfur and an Honorary Key to the City of Chicago for Outstanding Musical Achievement. Recently, he has made acclaimed débuts with Chineke! in London, the Havana Lyceum Orchestra, Sofia Sinfonietta, Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba, where he was the first American to date invited since President Barack Obama’s historic lifting of the U.S. embargo in 2015, and the only African American to conduct the orchestra in its sixty-year history.

He is the world’s foremost exponent and interpreter of the music of Chevalier de Saint-Georges and a champion of works by living composers, especially of African descent. His recording “Phoenix Forever” (music of Hampson Sisler) on the MSR Classics label received rave reviews and was in consideration for a 2011 GRAMMY.

He has held positions as Associate Conductor of the Praga Sinfonietta, Principal Guest Conductor of the Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra and has been a Guest Lecturer at Yale University. Currently, he is Artistic and Music Director of the Festival International de Musique Saint-Georges, Music Director of Ensemble du Monde (chamber orchestra), Director of the Diversity in Classical Music Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and has recently joined the faculty Fordham University as Director of Orchestral Ensembles.

Next season, he will make débuts at the prestigious Havana Mozart Festival, Opera Créole in New Orleans and release a new CD on the French label, Alpha Records. marlondaniel.com

ABOUT GORDON SHADRACH

Toronto-based artist Gordon Shadrach was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario in 1966. Gordon started painting in 2013 and paints in oil and acrylic on wood. He has exhibited in solo and group art shows in Canada and the United States. He works from photographs at his in-home studio. He received his B. Des. (MAAD) from OCAD University and has a Master of Education degree from Niagara University. In the Spring of 2018, Gordon’s painting, “In Conversation”, was included in an exhibit developed by the Royal Ontario Museum titled, “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art” and toured to Montreal and Halifax. His work is currently exhibited through the United Contemporary Gallery in Toronto. gordonshadrach.com

ABOUT TAFELMUSIK

Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio and Executive Director Carol Kehoe, Tafelmusik is an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past.

Founded over 40 years ago on the pillars of passion, learning, and artistic excellence, Tafelmusik continues to bring new energy to baroque music and beyond. Historically informed performances of 17th- to 19th-century instrumental and choral music (led by Chamber Choir director Ivars Taurins) share the stage with vibrant, insightful multimedia programs, and bold new music written just for the group. Each piece is played on period instruments, underscored and illuminated by scholarship.

Through dynamic performances, international touring, award-winning recordings, and comprehensive education programs, Tafelmusik invites audiences to engage with beauty and experience the breadth of emotion music can inspire.

Media contact: Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications, (416) 456-0499
luisa@luisatrisi.com | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7