Sir John Eliot Gardiner becomes a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur

James Jolly18th Apr 2011
Sir John Eliot joins the French élite (Photo: Thomas Garnier)Sir John Eliot joins the French élite (Photo: Thomas Garnier)

The conductor and scholar Sir John Eliot Gardiner was officially named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur at a ceremony in Versailles last week, an award made to him last year. The former Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon read the citation and made the presentation while Gardiner, his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique were in Paris for a run of performances at the Opéra Comique of Weber's Der Freischütz in Berlioz's edition (see James Jolly's blog).

Gardiner's service to French music has included a period (1983-88) as music director of the Opéra de Lyon, and acknowledges his great affinity with French music from Lully, Charpentier and Rameau via Berlioz to Debussy, Fauré, Poulenc and Lili Boulanger (with whose sister Nadia he studied as a young man).

[Gardiner will lead a concert performance of Le Freischütz at the penultimate night of the BBC Proms on September 9.]

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