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Francois-Joseph Dizi: Harpist, Composer... bit of a scoundrel?


This is François Joseph Dizi (1780-1847) a virtuosic harpist, harp innovator, and composer. Leaving his Belgian home aged only 16 and crossing the channel to England, Dizi apparently dived overboard to save a drawing sailor... forgetting he couldn't swim... Fortunately - and perhaps miraculously - he survived but was unable to recall the name of his ship so was unable to reclaim his possessions, including his letters of introduction. Arriving in London, he wandered the streets until he heard the sound of the harp emanating from a house. On entering, he demanded to be heard on the instrument - the house belonged to none-other than Sebastien Erard who immediately recognised the young man's talent and introduced him to those who would go onto support him. In 1807, Dizi scandalised London society when he was cited in a divorce case. He had been caught inflagrante with Margaret Ann Bazett, wife of East India Company shining light, Richard Campbell Bazett. Reader, he (Dizi) married her. The suicide of a young girl at his Fulham residence, some years later, besmirched his name further and Dizi, leaving his wife in London, travelled to France, and later Germany, with Frederic Kalkbrenner, the renowned pianist and composer. Dizi was never to return to London, dying in Paris in 1847.

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© 2020 by Mike Baldwin

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