Julian Joseph - The Language of Truth

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Pianist and composer Julian Joseph embarks this month on the premiere of his most ambitious project to date, a jazz opera called Bridegetower, commissioned by the City of London Festival and English Touring Opera, inspired in part by the 200th anniversary of the abolition of transatlantic slavery, with a libretto by writer Mike Phillips. Julian Joseph - The Language of Truth
Joseph, one of the luminaries of the 1980s jazz scene to have made a lasting impact on the UK and international jazz scene, has in recent years concentrated on his burgeoning career as a Radio 3 broadcaster but with Bridgetower the stage is set for a remarkable new chapter in the Londoner’s career. Interview: Kevin Le Gendre

George Polgreen Augustus Bridgetower
was a classical music star. A Polish-born violin prodigy who also played piano and composed, he was feted in Austria and France before he came to Britain in 1779 at the age of 10. After playing for George III to great acclaim he headed to Vienna where one Ludwig Van Beethoven was bowled over by his ability.

He wrote a sonata for Bridgetower that was later given to Kreuzer, one of the most formidable technicians of the day, after the two men fell out. Legend has it that Kreuzer said the score was unplayable. The story is enough to capture the imagination of any modern artist – musician, writer or filmmaker – but perhaps the detail about Bridgetower’s life that is most dramatic insofar as it challenges our perception of classical musicians is his race.

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