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Chung makes a sweep of French cultural honors

The French Ministry of Culture and Communication conferred the country’s top French cultural order “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” on Maestro conductor and pianist Chung Myung-whun Wednesday, making him a recipient of all three French cultural honors.

The medal is the highest honor among the three “Order of Arts and Letters,” awarded to an artist who has made significant contribution to arts and literature. The others are “Officer” and “Knight,” which Chung had received from the French government in 1994 and 1991, respectively.

Three other honorees on Wednesday included Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin, who received “Officer.”

“France is my second home, as I’ve been doing many activities here for more than 30 years,” Chung was quoted by Yonhap News as saying in Paris.
Conductor Chung Myung-whun speaks at the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in Paris on Wednesday after receiving a top French cultural honor. (Yonhap News)
Conductor Chung Myung-whun speaks at the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in Paris on Wednesday after receiving a top French cultural honor. (Yonhap News)

“I feel a sense of duty for receiving the top honor. I will endeavor to contribute to artistic exchanges between South Korea and France.”

Earlier, President Lee Myung-bak sent Chung a congratulatory telegram, thanking him for “offering cultural happiness to the South Korean people.”

Meanwhile, Chung is to perform as a pianist and conductor for BBC Prom 5 concert on July 18, joining violinist Renaud Capuon and cellist Gautier Capuon for Beethoven Triple Concerto.

Chung is replacing Martha Argerich, the pianist originally scheduled to perform, as she has health problems. Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which Chung leads as an artistic director, will also perform during the July 18 concert.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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