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Gerard Cornielje, Baron von Saxen is a musician and poet who has been performing and writing for over 35 years now. Born in 's-Heerenberg in The Netherlands, he started his musical career in the Joe Miller Big Band. Cornielje published his first book at the age of 16.
Baron von Saxen since broadend his horizons and performed in over 60 countries worldwide, presenting his trademark mix of sax playing, singing and poetry.
Gerardus Wilhelmus Theodorus Cornielje von Sachsen, Baron von Saxen, is the son of Gerhard Everhard Cornielje d'Anville (born September 11, 1926 in Emmerich am Rhein) and Maria Hippmann von Sachsen (born May 1, 1928 in 's-Heerenberg) and a direct descendant of Baroness Marie Le Pesant de Bois-Guilbert and Magistrate Pierre Corneille d'Anville, parents of poets Pierre Corneille, Seigner D'Anville and Thomas Corneille Seigneur de L'Isle.
Magistrate Pierre Corneille was knighted by King Louis XIII in the year 1637 (mainly due to his son Pierre, whose work Le Cid was a great success in that year and who was, through the ennoblement of his father, hence forward regarded as 'born noble'). Letters of nobility were again handed in favour of Thomas and Pierre by King Louis XIV in 1669 after the revocation of the original ennoblement under pressure of Richelieu. (Richelieu objected to the content of the play 'Le Cid' and was envious of the sudden rise of his former protégé Pierre Corneille). The title of Pierre Corneille the younger was Écuyer (Squire) Pierre Corneille Seigneur d'Anville, an inheritable title adorned with land and a fixed annual income. This title changed from Écuyer to Chevalier (Knight) after the death of his father.
From maternal side Cornielje descends from the family Hippmann von Sachsen zu Böhmen. Ennoblement letters were given to the family in the year 1733, when Johann Paul Hippmann von Sachsen was elevated to the rank of Freiherr (Baron) because of his achievements as administrator in service of the Kingdom of Bohemia.
After the French Revolution in 1789, the noble family Corneille escaped from the guillotine to the North: part of the family fled to The Netherlands, other family members fled towards Germany, Austria and Bohemia. The name Corneille became Cornielje as it was custom at the time to adjust French names to easily understandable ones for the natives of their newly adapted home countries and perhaps as well for fear of the long arm of the revolution.
Gerard Cornielje is best known for his live performances in which he combines reciting poetry with jazz saxophone playing, usually accompanied by a drummer and/or a double bass player. His poetry can be classified as Neo-Romantic Expressionism and is filled with tales surrounding his travels and music. Cornielje's music is a mix of jazz and blues, performed singing, playing alto-and tenor saxophones as well as blues harp. Cornielje has been performing for over 35 years and on his journeys integrated many ethnic music styles into his music. A good example is his collaboration with gnawa musicians from Morocco, a country where he performs several times a year. The combination of poetry, jazz and world music is the core of Cornielje's repertoire.
Since 2010 Cornielje has been ambassador of the Toe-to-Heart Trust in Bangalore promoting the trust worldwide on his tours. The Toe-to-Heart Trust was founded 8 years ago in Bangalore by Thomas van Berckel from the Netherlands and provides shelter to children from the slums of Bangalore.
On the first of May 2011 Cornielje received a literary prize: De Zilveren Brandnetel
In 2012 Gerard Cornielje received the title ' Knight of Castle Bergh', an honorary title sponsoring and representing Castle Bergh in 's-Heerenberg in the Netherlands as an ambassador.
Baron Cornielje von Saxen currently lives in Zürich, Switzerland.
In Exsilium (2007)
The Incredible Tales of Baron von Saxen (to appear mai 2013)
Sax on the Beach (2011)
God Bless the Child (2011)
Blue door (2012)