Wynton To Be Awarded Legion of Honor
On November 6, French Ambassador Pierre Vimont will confer upon Wynton Marsalis the insignia of chevalier of the Legion of Honor. The ceremony, which will take place at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, will be co-hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Philippe Camus (partner of Lagardère, Evercore, and chairman of Alcatel-Lucent). A performance by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet will follow the ceremony.
Wynton Marsalis, one of the most acclaimed jazz musicians of his generation, is also a celebrated composer of both jazz and classical music, an inspiring educator and a tireless advocate for many charitable and humanitarian causes. He has paved the way for jazz to be fully recognized as a sophisticated art in its own right. Marsalis co-founded Jazz at Lincoln Center in 1987, the first cultural institution solely devoted to jazz. Under his leadership, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces up to 400 events annually in 15 countries. Mr. Marsalis himself performs annually in France and has been a headliner at the world famous Jazz in Marciac festival since 1991. This French city has adopted him as its own and erected a statue in his honor in 1997.
The highest award bestowed by the French government, the National Order of the Legion of Honor was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte to recognize outstanding achievement in the military as well as in the public and private sectors. The Order is made up of five ranks: chevalier, officier, commandeur, grand officier, and grand croix. Recipients are named by decree signed by the President of the Republic. The Legion of Honor may be awarded to foreign citizens, though such recognition is relatively rare. American honorees include John Ashbery, Renée Fleming, Barbara Streisand, and Elie Wiesel, as well as hundreds of World War II veterans.