Dear Lang Lang,

Thanks to you, classical music also has its rock star! You tear up the crowds: hordes of Chinese teenage girls shout your name at the concerts and you inspire the vocations of thousands of young pianists.

Daniel Barenboim says of you: «He plays like a cat with twelve fingers». Your fingers run on the piano with agility and technique in a singularly choreographic body movement. You literally live the music you play, your gestures accompany the movements of the score and you find «fun» to play classical music, in contrast to the prejudices that belong to the genre.

At a time when many are beginning their lives, some very rare - like you, dear Lang Lang - are able to draw up a balance sheet. At the age of thirty, you are the youngest and the first Chinese artist to ever receive an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Music in London.

To get there, we had to start early. At three you enter the Shenyang Conservatory; at five you win first prize at the Shenyang Piano Competition and give your first recital in public. The premise of a dazzling journey but also of the will of your father - also a musician - who made you work up to seven hours a day.

You joined the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing four years later and then left China in 1997 for the United States where you receive the teaching of Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

You became known in 1999, replacing André Watts at the Ravinia Festival. Acclaimed by critics, you then play sold out at Carnegie Hall, you tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch, give your first recitals at the Wigmore in London, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris... At the age of twenty-six, you are already an internationally renowned pianist, playing alongside the greatest conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta and Lorin Maazel.

Tireless and insatiable, you are constantly improving your repertoire and you are aware of being at the beginning of your learning. You prefer a more «organic» approach to the work like playing Chopin in a complete record, The Chopin Album, released in December 2012, a record, all in balance and increasing nuances.

Your main concern, however, remains “attracting young people to classical music”. We know about your involvement with children: you sponsor talented young pianists, invite apprentices to concerts, play for free in hospitals or isolated regions.In 2008, you launch the Lang Lang International Music Foundation which encourages the next generation of amateurs and professionals by defending musical education, helping future great pianists and ensuring a young audience at the concert; thus wishing to respond to a «real» lack of professional coaching in China.

What an example indeed for youth when we know that your concert given on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing has put forty million young Chinese on the piano. This has been called the Lang Lang effect!

In parallel, you regularly give master classes around the world, including at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and the best conservatories in China.

Charismatic pianist, mediatized, sponsored, a real human bridge between Eastern and Western cultures, with an explosive and muscular career since your childhood thanks to a tremendous determination and a self-discipline of iron, Lang Lang, you’re certainly not finished telling us what you did.

To all these titles, dear Lang Lang, on behalf of the French Republic, we present you with the insignia of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Dear Nelly Quérol,

At the helm of a legendary music publishing house, committed to defending copyright and music publishing, you are, dear Nelly Quérol, a woman of mind and heart.

Since literature has so willingly taken hold of the illustrious music publishers, drawing its inspiration directly from the nourished correspondence they maintained with the composers, we imagine one day reading a portrait of you at the turn of a novel, Maurice Schlesinger, the famous publisher who diffused Berlioz and inspired Flaubert. History and literature offer a thousand variations on the precious reciprocity that binds the author to his publisher.

This golden legend of musical publishing became yours when, as a young lawyer, you joined Salabert Editions in 1983. Thanks to the vision and intuition of its founder, Francis Salabert, and then his wife Mica, who succeeds him, this house, which is largely a century old, holds one of the richest French musical heritages with more than 80,000 works in its catalogue.

The richness of this heritage that you have lived and prospered for more than thirty years is not so much due to the thickness of this catalogue as to the diversity of the works that compose it: light and serious music rub shoulders, from operetta with Chives or La Belle de Cadiz to jazz with the unmissable Duke Ellington, symphonic works to film music with Les Enfants du Paradis, not to mention chamber music.

Because it knew how to surround itself with the greatest composers of its time, the Salabert house now has one of the most important catalogues of contemporary music. She was the first publisher of the famous Groupe des Six, Satie, Chausson, Magnard and Duparc, but also of Mistinguette, Joséphine Baker, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand and Charles Trenet, who performed the Salabert repertoire with equal success.

As a legend smuggler and guardian of an invaluable musical heritage, you are also a fervent defender of the rights of authors and music publishers.

At a time when the music industry is facing many challenges, your expertise and commitment are decisive. For more than 25 years, you have been working in the collective defence of copyright and music publishing. From SACEM to the Chambre syndicale de l'édition musicale (CSDEM), of which you have been president since 1998, you are committed to representing your profession while ensuring the promotion and promotion of music and its authors.

Promoting music, defending and enhancing musical heritage is also what motivates you to get involved in the Hall of Song and Musica Gallica. These two associations that you support, in close collaboration with SACEM and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, have the same objective: to raise public awareness of musical heritage and to promote its preservation and exploitation. If the Hall of Song is attached to the popular musical heritage to hear again some forgotten songs, Musica Gallica allowed the publication of works of fifty composers, illustrious or unknown, from the medieval to the twentieth century, to make them available to researchers and interpreters.

Because your entire career is placed under the sign of the valorization of musical heritage and the defense of copyright and the publishing of music, because your action is crucial while the world of music is undergoing profound changes, I address to you, dear Nelly Quérol, the tributes of the Republic.

Dear Nelly Quérol, on behalf of the French Republic, we make you a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Dear Michael Kurtz,

There are names that are readily associated with strokes of genius: yours is one of them. What began as a brilliant intuition around a café with friends in Baltimore has become a musical rendezvous rarely equaled.
Acclaimed by the greatest names in music all over the world, the Record Store Day that you co-founded brings to the forefront a key link in the music industry: record stores

The Record Store Day phenomenon, however, owes nothing to chance because your entire career is placed under the umbrella of record stores. Between the tours and rehearsals of your band Three Hits, it is at a record store that you work, like many artists before and after you who come to testify of this privileged link on the occasion of the Record Store Day. In the 1990s, you devoted yourself to the publication of Music Monitor, a musical magazine born in North Carolina and distributed to independent record stores throughout the United States. This ink and paper link you created through the distribution of the magazine will materialize in the form of the Music Monitor Network to form one of the largest networks of independent record stores in the United States.

It is this same network spirit, this same awareness of the unifying power of a sector of the music industry that is too often neglected that pushes you to engage in the Record Store Day adventure. In 2007, you decided, with a handful of independent record stores, to create a unifying event to encourage the vitality of a sector that many had buried too quickly.

You get the immediate support of the artists who then mobilize to release new titles that are only available that day and exclusively in independent stores: Paul McCarthney and Metallica, the enthusiasts of the first hour, but also Bruce Springsteen, Gorillaz, Sonic Youth, the Rolling Stones, the Strokes or the band Blur which, 7 years after its last album, offers an exclusive title for the Record Store Day. After the second edition of the Record Store Day, more records are sold on that day alone than during the entire Christmas period.

The concept is imported all over the world: the French version, Disquaire Day, was born in 2011 thanks to the Club Action des Labels Indépendants Français (CALIF). A hundred French stores are taking part in the operation with the support of many artists, majors and independent labels who willingly join this great festival of record stores.

Maybe it’s Iggy Pop, godfather of the latest edition of Record Store Day, who speaks best of independent record stores: «it’s a scene and a laboratory (..) it’s where everything happens». And he who discovered his vocation while working at a record store adds: Intelligence has a depth and a finesse that only the true
personal, physical and human exchange”.

It is because you represent the strength and incredible resource of the independent record store network at a time when the music industry is facing major challenges, that I wanted to distinguish you tonight. I am particularly pleased to be able to do so at MIDEM because I know that it was important for you to witness the vitality of the network of independent record stores before this great assembly of professionals and artists gathered in Cannes.

Dear Michael Kurtz, on behalf of the French Republic, we present you with the insignia of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.