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Monday, 2 July 2007, 12:00AM

Bridgetower – Black Musicians and British Culture, 1807-2007

Dr Mike Phillips

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, the son of an Abyssinian slave, was hailed as a musical prodigy in the eighteenth century. Taught by Haydn, his appearance at the court in Windsor to play in front of George III led to his subsequent 'adoption' by the Prince Regent. Friends with Beethoven - Bridgetower was the original dedicatee of the Kreutzer Sonata and they gave the first performance together - his life offers a powerful symbolism for the creation and establishment of a black British community which has its roots in the 18th century importation and migration of slaves and ex-slaves.

Professor Mike Phillips is the librettist for the newly-commissioned opera,Bridgetower - A Fable of 1807, to be given its premier as a part of the City of London Festival on the 5th of July. He will be discussing the role of black musicians in British culture in the two hundred years since the Abolition of the Slave Trade act.

dr-mike-phillips

Writer Mike Phillips was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and grew up in London. He was educated at the University of London (English), the University of Essex (Politics), and at Goldsmiths College London (Education). He worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcaster before becoming a lecturer in media studies at the University of Westminster.

Mike has written full-time since 1992. Best-known for his crime fiction, his most recent novel, A Shadow of Myself (2000), is the first of a trilogy set in Eastern Europe. Mike Phillips co-wrote Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain (1998) to accompany a BBC television series. His most recent book, London Crossings: A Biography of Black Britain (2001), is a series of interlinked essays and stories. Mike  writes for the Guardian, and is cross-cultural curator at the Tate. He is also a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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2 July 2007

Bridgetower – Black Musicians and British Culture, 1807-2007
Dr Mike Phillips

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