“Scandal In Paris: The Romance Between Frederic Chopin and George Sand” Kicks off the Lunch and Lecture Series at CFABS on December 5, 2018

Almost two hundred years before you could walk into a grocery store and learn everything you ever wanted to know about “Brangelina” while standing in the checkout line, and well over a hundred years before Bogie ever laid eyes on Bacall, Paris of the 1830’s gave us Frederic Chopin and George Sand.  Both Chopin and Sand were famous in their own right. Sand was among the most popular writers of the time and Chopin was the 1830’s equivalent of a rock star.  It was obvious that the two of them shared both creative genius and popular acclaim, yet their differences were also quite pronounced.  Whatever particular set of circumstances and character traits it was that actually drew the two of them together, the world was entranced. 

And why wouldn’t the world be entranced? After all, what is better than a good old love story?  Enquiring minds want to know…  It turns out that a love story about people we admire is exactly what’s better than a love story.  In fact, it may be that any story at all about people we admire will have folks’ tongues wagging.   (Don’t believe it?  Circulation for “People” magazine is considerably higher than it is for “Reader’s Digest.”)  Any way you look at it, people are the heart and soul of every story - their personalities, their circumstances and the tensions between them.  Put two (or more) extremely interesting and dynamic people together, and you’ve got everything you need for a gripping story!

George Sand was an outspoken, cigar-smoking political activist in a time when non-royal women didn’t smoke cigars and certainly didn’t involve themselves in politics.  On top of that, she had divorced her husband and she donned men’s clothing as she saw fit.  In a time when convention played a far greater role than it does today, she was hugely successful despite her reputation as “a cigar-toting sexual outlaw.”  Chopin was considered a musical prodigy and genius, and despite a distaste for performing in front of large audiences, his salon performances and compositions were highly sought after among the Paris and European elite.  And somehow, Chopin managed these accolades without regularly performing in public.  For a performer, Chopin was a surprisingly retiring fellow.  He long believed that his nuanced style of play was better received in the smaller private setting of the salon than in an auditorium where the finer points of his music would be lost amidst the ambient noise created by a larger audience.  Chopin was never terribly healthy either, having contracted tuberculosis as a young man, a disease which steadily sapped his energy, and possibly added to his mild-mannered persona.

George Sand appeared to be larger than life. Chopin appeared almost to shrink from it, yet the two of them spent nearly a decade together and both of them produced a good deal of work during that time. Then, they were apart. 

Musician, historian, author and Professor Rachel Cox will be presenting the story of one of the first ever “super-couples” as she presents “Rachel Cox is an incredibly multi-talented individual who has performed with the Naples Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum Chamber Orchestra on violin and/or viola.  Ms. Cox has been a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra since 1998.  She has performed at Carnegie Hall, been on the radio as part of broadcasts for WGBH-FM’s “Off the Record” program and twice been on nationwide PBS broadcasts while playing with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.  In 2002, Rachel started the music scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University that ultimately led to the formation of the Bower School of Music. She is also an accomplished author and historian, has written a half-dozen history texts as well as novels and poetry. 

Classical pianist Karen Davis will provide musical accompaniment during this event.  Lunch will be Catered by Atrium Café. When: Noon – 1:30pm, December 5, 2018. Where: The Moe Auditorium and Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Rd. How Much: $38 per person.

To learn more and reserve space call the Centers for the Arts today 239-495-8989 or visit the website

About Lunch and Lecture Series:

Delve into the fascinating history and personal stories of famous artists and musicians. Women artists who changed the art world - romances that inspired great music - friendships that revolutionized art - and a country whose musical legacy continues to inspire. Enjoy a delicious catered lunch during these fascinating lectures and musical performances or art presentations. Events held at the Moe Auditorium or Vi at Bentley. Reservations strongly advised.

Tickets: $38 – Single Lunch & Lecture 
$170 – Complete Series Lunch & Lecture


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