Pressler Receives Order of Arts and Letters Award

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Menahem Pressler, a distinguished professor in the Indiana University School of Music, was presented with the Commandeur in the Order of Arts and Letters award, France’s highest cultural honor, by French Counsul General Richard Barbeyron in a special ceremony Saturday evening (Sept. 17).

“This is very unexpected. It is the greatest cultural honor that France gives to a foreigner,” said the legendary pianist and founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. “This honors not only me, but also my school.”

The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, Pressler emigrated to Israel in 1938. He began his association with the IU School of Music in 1955. That same year, he co-founded the Beaux Arts Trio, which has become one of the world’s most enduring and widely acclaimed chamber music ensembles. The trio performs more than 100 concerts and master classes each year in the world’s major music centers and has made over 50 recordings. Additionally, Pressler has compiled over 30 solo recordings.

Pressler has been honored with Chamber Music America’s Distinguished Service Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine, the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the German Critics “Ehrenurkunde” award. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

Distinguished Professor of Music Menahem Pressler is congratulated by Indiana University School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. They are joined on the stage of the Musical Arts Center by IU Bloomington Chancellor Kenneth Gros Louis (left) and French Counsul General Richard Barbeyron (right).

Reprinted with permission from the IU School of Music – Photos courtesy of Indiana University.

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