How George Bridgetower Flourished: A Violinist’s Bridge Between Past and Future

Saturday, 11 November 2023, 2:15-3:45pm
Governor’s Sq. 14


This lecture-recital will feature Beethoven’s Sonata No.9 Op. 47 (performing George Bridgetower’s flourishes), a commissioned response to the first movement of the sonata from Nicole Cherry’s ForgewithGeorge commissioning project collection entitled The Bridgetower for speaking, singing, solo violinist by David Wallace. Nicole Cherry will share other findings and commissions that shed light on George Bridgetower’s compelling story.

“The Bridgetower” is a natural extension of Cherry’s passion for preserving and perpetuating the legacies of great black classical violinists. Using the full text of the opening poem of Dove’s poetic novel, Sonata Mulattica, the performer narrates, musically embodies, and contextually deconstructs the poem’s rhetorical introduction of the book’s protagonist: the great Afro-European virtuoso violinist, George Polgreen Bridgetower.

This recital answers questions that can now be answered about the legacy of George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower – and opens questions about the depth of community within the Western Canon.


Dr. Nicole Cherry is Assistant Professor of Violin at The University of Texas at San Antonio and second violinist of the award-winning Marian Anderson String Quartet. Dr. Cherry holds degrees most notably from the Peabody Institute, the Shepherd School of Music and the Juilliard School with training that has exposed her to the teaching of the world’s most distinguished artists such as the Guarneri, Juilliard, Emerson, and the Takács String Quartet; as well as esteemed violinists Isidore Cohen, Erick Friedman, Joseph Fuchs, and Felix Galimir. She has performed in ensembles conducted by Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, and as concertmaster under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. Comfortable in various styles, Dr. Cherry has shared the stage with Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Black Street and the Whitney Houston. Dr. Cherry has shared the stage with some of the world’s most acclaimed artists and performed in distinguished venues including the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian, and the Banff Centre. A solo tour of the Middle East and Asia included performances before the Queen Noor of Jordan and in underdeveloped townships in Johannesburg during Apartheid. Dr. Cherry’s award-winning research on the nineteenth-century Afro-European violin virtuoso, George Bridgetower, has led to performances in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including the Fitzwilliam Museum, (UK), Sydney Conservatorium (AU), Pennsylvania State University, The Berklee College of Music (MA) and the Juilliard School (NY). Her work has expanded into a commissioning project, ForgewithGeorge which engages some of today’s most exciting composers.

Nicole Cherry

Ms. Faith DeBow has been a faculty member at Texas State University since 2001, where she teaches piano and accompanying, and is a staff accompanist at Trinity University. She is also the regular pianist for the Grammy-nominated professional choir Conspirare, and the Young Artist Coordinator for the Victoria Bach Festival. DeBow holds a master’s degree in accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied under the Brooks Smith Fellowship, and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Butler University. She has had the privilege of performing in over a dozen states and seven countries, including a 2010 concert and recording project in Reykjavik, Iceland and Conspirare’s 2008 tour to Copenhagen. She has recorded for the Harmonia Mundi label with Conspirare, and for Albany Records with tuba player Tim Buzbee.

Faith Debow