George Bridgetower

George Bridgetower

George Bridgetower was born in Biala, Poland on 29th February, 1780. His father, Frederich Bridgetower came from Africa and his mother, Ann Bridgetower, from Germany.

As a young man Bridgetower showed extraordinary musical talent and made his professional debut in Paris at the age of nine when he played a violin concerto by the Italian composer Giovanni Giornovichi. The following year he moved to London.

The Prince of Wales (the future George IV) was very impressed with Bridgewater and paid his father £25 to become his guardian. The Prince of Wales employed leading musicians to teach Bridgewater musical theory. He also arranged for him to give concerts as a solo violinist at the Convent Garden, Drury Lane and Haymarket theatres. For the next 14 years Bridgewater held the post of first violinist in the Prince of Wales's private orchestra that performed at his home in London and at the Royal Pavilion.

In 1802 Bridgewater went on a concert tour of Germany and Austria. In May 1803 he met Ludwig von Beethoven who was immensely impressed by his abilities and described him as "a very able virtuoso and an absolute master of the instrument."

Bridgewater obtained a degree of Bachelor of Music at Cambridge University in June 1811. He composed very little work but continued to perform in Europe for many years.

George Bridgetower died in Peckham, London, on 20th February, 1860.