On the evening of Friday, October 14, at Powell Hall in St. Louis, conductor David Robertson, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony, was made a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Republic’s Ministry of Culture. The award and medal were presented to Mr. Robertson by Marie-Anne Toledano, Cultural Attaché of the Consulate General of France in Chicago, at a festive reception after the St. Louis Symphony concert. This concert, led by David Robertson, gave the U.S. premiere of French composer Philippe Manoury’s Synapse, with violinist James Ehnes as soloist. It was supported by FACE, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Music created by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in 2004. Additional works on the program were the Overture to Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1.

The “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Order of Arts and of Letters) was established on May 2, 1957, by the French Minister of Culture, and ratified as part of the “Ordre national du Mérite” (National Order of Merit) by President Charles de Gaulle in December 1963. The award recognizes significant contributions to the arts and literature, or promotional efforts in these fields. The Order is awarded without restrictions of nationality or age, and comprises three degrees: “Chevalier” (knight), “Officier “(officer) and “Commandeur” (commander).


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