Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George (sometimes erroneously spelled Saint-Georges) (December 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799) was an important figure in the Paris musical scene in the second half of the 18th century as composer, conductor, and violinist. Prior to the revolution in France, he was also famous as a swordsman and equestrian. Known as the "black Mozart" he was one of the earliest musicians of the European classical type known to have African ancestry.
The story of the Chevalier de Saint-George ("Knight of Saint-George") depicts the rise, fall, and rebirth of an athletic, musical, and military hero who became a superstar in 18th century France. Born on Christmas Day, 1745 in the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, to a Senegalese slave and a French colonialist, Saint-George was a breakthrough composer and violin virtuoso who came to be called "Le Mozart Noir". He became the first black man to lead France's most important orchestras. Saint-George was also Europe's finest fencer, a master horseman, elite musketeer, infamous playboy, and a Colonel who led an army in the French Revolution. Described by poets of his day as a "French Hercules", "a veritable Mars", and a "rival of Apollo", Saint-George stands out as one of the most extraordinary figures of the 18th century.