Sir John Eliot Gardiner has been honoured with France ’s highest accolade, the Legion d’Honneur, for services to music in France . Gardiner was presented with the award by the former Minister of Culture, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, during a ceremony at the Palais de Versailles on 14th April which included a tree planted in Gardiner’s name in the palace gardens.

Founder and artistic director of the English Baroque Soloists, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner is often credited with ‘bringing French music back to the French’, with French music playing a major part throughout his extensive recording career. As one of the most versatile conductors of today, and having studied under Nadia Boulanger, Gardiner’s work in France is notable in particular for its highly acclaimed interpretations of the works of Berlioz. Outstanding successes include the first modern performances of the rediscovered Messe Solennelle and the first ever complete performances of Les Troyens at the Châtelet in Paris , the DVD of which by Opus Arte went on to win numerous awards. Not even the composer saw the piece performed in its entirety.

Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir - which was recently voted ‘the greatest choir in the world’ by Gramophone magazine - have just completed a run of performances of von Weber’s Der Freischütz (arr. Berlioz) at the Opéra Comique in Paris . The series is part of a five-year creative partnership which sees the ensembles perform operas originally premiered at the iconic venue. Previous operas include Chabrier’s L’Etoile (2007), Bizet’s Carmen (2009), and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (2010).

 

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