Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the ceremony of the remisedes insignes of Grand Officer in the National Order of Merit in Mone Brunau, of Chevalier in the Order of the Legion of Honour in Alain Lanceron, Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters in Thierry Coudert, Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters in Gérald-Brice Viret and Robert Kopp

Dear Simone Brunau,
It is a great joy and honour for me to welcome you
today in the salons of the Ministry of Culture and
Communication. I am indeed very pleased to pay tribute to a
great personality of the cultural world, who worked all his life,
for the promotion of the arts, both in France and abroad.
Your life has always been one of commitment. Native
of Northern France, your family is endowed with a national feeling
that you will honour from an early age. After your
philosophy degree, at only 17, you join one of the
movements of the French internal resistance during the
World War II. You also participate, at the end of the war,
to the reception of the deportees and prisoners to whom you bring, through your
smiles, gestures, words, warmth and comfort.
After the war, you worked at the National Library and you were
entrusts a research work for the Society of Bibliolâtres. Diving
in the world of bibliophilia, you do not give up
commitment to national action this time. At the call of the General of
Gaulle, you join the movement he created, the Rassemblement du
French people, where you are soon entrusted with great responsibilities. The
General, who looks upon you kindly and affectionately, has very quickly
noted your qualities. Through your political activities, you contribute
with your husband Felix, a great resistance fighter, inspector general of
Ministry of Culture, at the great return of General de Gaulle in 1958.
Pierre de Gaulle, the General’s brother, curator of the exhibition
Brussels from 1958, proposes you to occupy
the functions of Rector Antoine, then in charge of the
French Thought at the Pavillon de la France at the World Fair. A
from 1958, you give a new direction to your career
professional in the performance of duties within
offices of the Ministers in charge of information, in this case
Jacques Soustelle, Roger Frey, Louis Terrenoire, Alain Peyrefitte. En
in charge of the foreign press, you organize, in liaison with the Elysée,
President. You will remember these great
events for which you worked passionately and without
such as the delicate journey of General de Gaulle in the Republic
Federal Republic of Germany in September 1962
the time as that of the Franco-German reconciliation – or the visit
President Kennedy in Paris in May 1961.
In January 1959, André Malraux appointed you Secretary General of the
Board of Directors of the Cité internationale des Arts, institution
founded by your husband, whose vocation is to welcome artists
professionals from all over the world, promoting the
people. Fully devoted to the public good, you will naturally
focus your energy on it. Throughout these years, you
tirelessly to raise new challenges with spirit and tenacity
challenges. Thanks to your persuasion, you succeed in
journeys undertaken throughout the world (you have for example
32 times in China! ), to convince foreign countries to participate
the construction of the Cité internationale des Arts.
You have also distinguished yourself as deputy mayor of Saint-
Cloud or as a member of artistic associations or juries in France
or abroad – for example, the Pro Quartet association, which
you have received many awards, including the Gold Medal
Pushkin (Russia), the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa of the School of
Hangzhou Fine Arts and Xi'An School of Fine Arts (China), the
Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.
Dear Simone Brunau, I am pleased to honour a great lady of the
cultural world, which has distinguished itself by its remarkable sense of
public relations, political cultural experience, dedication
to others, but also to honor a great figure of the Resistance
who fought for the greatness of France.
Dear Simone Brunau, on behalf of the President of the Republic and under
of the powers vested in us, we lift you to the dignity of
Grand Officer in the National Order of Merit.
Dear Alain Lanceron,
Discovering talent is a talent in itself; the dissemination of works is
a commitment. If you are considered one of the producers
most influential of your generation in the world of classical music,
it is that you have been able to combine these two traits that are to you
You have been marked, during your young years, by these places
mythical music in Nice, your hometown: from the small hall of
the Artistic, where Sunday concerts were held, to the Palace of the
Mediterranean where the concerts of instrumentalists make you discover
great artists like Wilhelm Kempff or José Iturbi. But this is the
discovery of lyrical works that leaves you the most vivid memory,
fascinated by admirable masterpieces, seduced by remarkable
These aesthetic discoveries will be decisive for you and you decide
then dedicate your life to music. Graduate of the Ecole Supérieure
Paris Commerce and Bachelor of Economics, you decide
to put your professional career at the service of your passion for
music. You thus launch yourself in the musical criticism in different
renowned newspapers and magazines, such as Valeurs Actuelles, Scherzo,
Lyrica or Avant-Scène Opera, describing with sensitivity the gestures of these
artists, analysing with relevance new works, diving
always in writing your passion with the same delight.
When you enter, in 1972, at Pathé Marconi-EMI, you do
proof of a determination and sensitivity that make you know a
impressive rise. You are appointed Project Manager
Special, then Director of the classical department. In June 1996, you
take, alongside your activities for EMI MUSIC FRANCE, the
World Presidency of VIRGIN CLASSICS, then become, a little more
later, Vice President Artists and Repertoire for the label EMI CLASSICS.
You have, for the label, a project, an ambition, a vision, that you
wear with unfailing constancy, and you create step by step what will
its identity, making Virgin Classics the only classic label
of a multinational based in Paris.
During your career, you make nearly 600 recordings with
the greatest contemporary classical artists. All these artists that
you admired before you have now become familiar: Yehudi
Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Nicolai Gedda, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,
Victoria from Los Angeles… and many others. Today, talent
as exceptional as Nathalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky, Mady
Mesplé, Jane Rhodes, Emmanuelle Haim know well what they you
As a publisher, you are also interested in the treasures left behind
generations of artists of the past. You are thus participating in the
rediscovery of French heritage with many recordings in
world premiere (nearly 100). You also launch several series
the French market (References, Les
Not found, The voice of his Master, Red and Black, etc.), thus ensuring the
sustainability of the great recordings of the past.
Anxious to open the horizons of listeners ever more fond of
novelty, you discover many contemporary works
to the general public, developing and producing recordings of
current composers: Thomas Adès, who is a little the new Britten,
is an exclusive artist EMI Classics; the Chinese composer Qigang Chen,
former student of Olivier Messiaen, recorded several records for Virgin
Your work and your talent have been distinguished many times, and the appeal is
to take the presidency of multiple institutions, from the Centre
National Professional Insertion of Lyric Artists until Victories
of Classical Music. But one of your greatest consecrations has
place in your hometown, in Nice, when, on 31 October 2008, in
the occasion of the days «It’s not classic», you were made citizen
of the City of Nice.
As a token of appreciation for your contribution to outreach
of classical and contemporary music in France and abroad, dear
Alain Lanceron, on behalf of the President of the Republic and under the
powers vested in us, we make you Knight of the Legion
of honor.
Dear Thierry COUDERT,
I am pleased to welcome you here to pay tribute to
the constant commitment of the politician and senior official that
you are at the service of the world of culture and more particularly of
museums of France.
Graduate of the Institute of Political Studies and former student of the ENA, you
start your prestigious career as Chief of Staff of the
Prefect of the Haut-Rhin which will then lead you to occupy many
positions in the prefectural body. You also assume high
functions in several ministerial offices: at the Ministry of Industry,
where you advised Alain Madelin, then to the State Secretariat in
Social Affairs and Integration, where you headed Kofi’s Cabinet
Yamgane. You also worked with Nicolas Sarkozy, at
Interior Ministry, then headed the cabinet of Brice Hortefeux,
and immigration. Your taste
public affairs and politics also takes shape in your
many political works, such as The Feudal Republic.
Since 2008, you have been Director-General of the
Preparation and Response to Health Emergencies (EPRUS). Your
involvement and your work have contributed to the formation of several units
on the ground with the creation of two intervention reserves. These
reservists, who may also be called to the theatre of acts
natural or technological disasters, have already
participated, under France’s humanitarian aid, in several actions
carried out in Gaza, Haiti or Chile.
Knowledgeable about political institutions and administrative practices
France, you launched into the electoral battle during the
last municipal elections in Paris. Elected from the 17th arrondissement in
Paris Council, you created the «Pari Paris» movement to defend
among many other topics – because I know that you
ideas to implement in the capital – the place de la
culture, which, in your opinion, should be the aim of all political action.
Passionate about history, literature and classical music, you put all
your energy in the service of art, especially through your determined actions
on many Boards of Directors, such as those of the Theatre
of Châtelet, of the European House of Photography, of 104 or
from the Cité internationale des Arts.
You have chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Museum since 2008
Jean-Jacques Henner and you have brilliantly accompanied his
restructuring, despite the complexity of its implementation and the degree of
technology it required. Essential relay between the 17th century town hall and the
teams of the museum, you have followed with enthusiasm, including
terms of communication, this reopening, crucial period for
the institution. In order to make the museum better known, you have created
around him a real network based on friendship.
Dear Thierry Coudert, you also have the ambition to revive the
district of the Plaine Monceau, so that it finds the effervescence of
the time when it was the breeding ground of artists, painters, writers. The
great musicians of the time of Fauré, Proust, Debussy, Ravel,
the undisputed idols, in his hotel of 100 boulevard Malesherbes. I
I am particularly pleased with the progress of the
restoration of the old winter garden in the heart of this beautiful mansion,
part of the Museums Plan. I know how attentive you are to this
creation of a real space of readings and meetings, place where
will make your many projects for culture, including
concerts in connection with the National Conservatory and readings by
nineteenth century.
Recently, the «Café Society Show» was the subject of a very beautiful
exhibition Zoom on the «Café Society», unique moment to imagine this
that the inter-war jet set could live every night. This
exhibition featured a selection of photos from your beautiful
book – which I myself greatly appreciated -, devoted to this
phenomenon that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a result of
between avant-garde aristocrats.
Dear Thierry Coudert, you won’t mind if I run out of time
to evoke the abundance of your talents and activities.
For your high sense of public service that has already earned you
Knight of the Legion of Honour, for your essential contribution to
influence of our cultural institutions, Dear Thierry Coudert, on behalf
of the French Republic, we make you an officer in the order of the Arts
and Letters.
Dear Gérald Brice Viret,
It is a great pleasure for me to be able to
of the world of audiovisual media that has distinguished itself by
his exemplary commitment and the richness of his career.
After your studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Grenoble, you
start, very young, your career in local media, working at
develop channels that are sometimes very remote. First, a radio host
France Isère, you quickly join the field of local television,
of which you will be one of the pioneers. Director of Antenna and
programs within the 8 Mont Blanc chain, you succeed in
extend broadcasting to the department of Savoie, on the occasion of the games
Olympic Games in Albertville. It is also 8 Mont Blanc
a decisive encounter, that of Françoise Marchetti who, since then, shares
your professional life.
After this first experience in local television, you join
TLM (Télé Lyon Métropole) as antenna director and you
help discover the talents of promising young journalists, among
which Frédéric Lopez. Above all, you manage to develop brilliantly
the most discreet television channels, as a true magician of
the audiovisual. Director of the West Indies Television, you make
very quickly a chain leader of the region, able to compete with the
American satellite television. Your participation in the creation of the
Travel channel will also be very fruitful, since, thanks to your
programming, it will become one of the most
on cable and satellite throughout French-speaking Europe.
In 2002, it’s a new time for your career: you become
Deputy Director General of Television Monte-Carlo: you drive with
TMC successfully applied to the CSA for a frequency
in digital terrestrial television. Very quickly, thanks to your extraordinary
TMC is at the forefront of the audience on each of its
different delivery channels. You also participate in large
events, on the occasion of the chain’s 50th anniversary, a challenge
50 continuous hours live or covering in real time the advent
of Prince Albert II. At the same time, your personal commitment to
Morocco and its culture will lead you to ensure, for three years, the
advising the CEO of Morocco’s leading channel 2M.
In 2006, the founding president of NRJ proposed the management of the
general interest channel NRJ12, which, with more than 36 million viewers
is placed, under your direction, in the leading group of the
digital terrestrial television. Curious and open, you never cease
increase initiatives, all of which have the same success:
create the regional TNT channel NRJ Paris that offers the Ile-de-France region a
high quality television and largely leader in the capital region, but
also the NRJ HITS channel, which has since become the
musical de France.
As President of the TNT group your many actions
information, advice and promotion have helped ensure the success of
television in France. For the past two years, the CNC has
also call on your expertise of French production in the framework
of the Commission’s work on the Industrial Support Account
Dear Gérald-Brice Viret, for the density of your journey in the world
and for your efforts to modernize our
and enrichment of their content, in the name of the
French Republic, we make you a Knight in the Order of Arts and
des Lettres.
Dear Professor Robert Kopp,
It is a real pleasure to honour tonight one of the greatest specialists
of French literature and the history of ideas, this history for a time
decimated, but whose great Italian intellectual Benedetto Croce said
that it was “a path of freedom”. Recognized researcher, professor
admired, prolific author, you have contributed with passion and generosity,
the influence of French literature in our country and abroad.
You are, sir, professor of modern French literature at
the University of Basel, the first university founded in Switzerland and one of the
most prestigious in Europe. The names of Erasme, Nietzsche or
Jacob Burckhardt, who taught there, illustrate it fully. But you
have also taught at many other major universities,
such as the Sorbonne or the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (IV
section). Your talents also earn you the title of member
correspondent of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.
As a specialist in the history of literature and ideas in the 18th century,
19th and 20th centuries, you are the author of reference studies on the
Romanticism, Surrealism, on authors as prestigious as
Rousseau, whose 300th anniversary of the birth in
2012, Balzac, the Goncourt brothers, but also Yves Bonnefoy or Pierre
Jean Jouve, who was your friend. We remember the magnificent Cahier de
the Herne you have, alongside Dominique de Roux, dedicated to this
great poet. Your studies on Baudelaire, of which you are undoubtedly one
of the best specialists, and of which you have given a definitive edition
poems in prose, are essential milestones in the history and
literary criticism of our time.
You are also a great art lover, you extend your
research on the relationship between literature and other arts,
with painting, with sculpture, with music, in an approach
which makes you an “honest man” of the 21st century
in a global cultural vision, in correspondence with
the universalist ambition of French culture. It is in this capacity that you
in 1988, he was awarded the prestigious Prix du rayonnement de la langue
and French literature, awarded by the Académie française. I know
also your role in the interviews of the Fondation des Treilles, in
Provence, alongside one of the «figures» of this house, the President
of the History Committee, Maryvonne de Saint-Pulgent.
Your activities in the editorial field are considerable: you are
member of the editorial board of Travaux de littérature (at Droz) and
of the Revue des Deux Mondes, you are also the editor of the
collection Books (at Robert Laffont), which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary and
which is an inexhaustible resource in terms of poorly edited authors and
dictionaries which, to be learned, are no less manageable. Your
works in this field concern as well the actual publishing of
works – I will only mention here the critical edition commented by Les Petits
prose poems by Baudelaire, which since 1969 has served as a basis for work
to so many generations of students – as literary criticism studies, or
recently designed the André Breton album for the Library of
la Pléiade (in 2008).
But next to this intellectual activity marked by excellence,
which alone would justify you being thanked and distinguished, you have
founded in 2002, at your beloved University of Basel, the Institute of Studies
French and French, whose purpose is to promote
French in all disciplines. Literature obviously, linguistic,
French and French studies, again the universal aim of your
institute bears the mark of your training, your culture, your
also European openness.
I would like to take this opportunity to bring us together today to
praise this global network of institutes and departments
Academics dedicated to the study and knowledge of the language
and French culture. They are everywhere the sign of excellence of the
our literature and arts, they are home to
research that makes our language and culture exist on all
continents, which make it both French and universal. It is thanks to
to personalities like yours, dear Robert Kopp, that the
centuries-old conversation of France and the world continues: in
the attention you pay to great creators, through study
of their work. You are one of those smugglers and
awakeners who do honour to the University and the Republic of Letters.
For your intellectual merits and for your human qualities as for
your founding work, Dear Robert Kopp, on behalf of the Republic
We make you a knight in the order of Arts and Letters.