Chinese conductor Yu Long (R) received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from Emmanuel Lenain, the consul general of France in Shanghai. Photo provided to China Daily
Chinese conductor Yu Long, 50, received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from Emmanuel Lenain, the consul general of France in Shanghai, on Nov 17.
"Yu is one of the most important conductors in the world. The honor is to recognize his devotion to promote classical music in China as well as his effort in cultural communication between France and China," says Lenain.
"I'm very honored to receive this. Personally, I have a special bond with France. My grandfather learned music in Paris in the 1940s, and he taught me not only music but French arts, literature and more," says Yu, who received another French honor, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in 2003.
The Legion of Honor was established by Napoleon Bonaparte on May 19, 1802. Only a few world-renowned musicians -- including Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Renee Fleming, Celine Dion and Bob Dylan -- have received the honor. Among Chinese, the Hong Kong novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung received the honor.
Born in Shanghai in 1964, Yu studied music at Shanghai Conservatory of Music and then furthered his studies in Berlin. After returning from Berlin in 1998, he founded the annual Beijing Music Festival, which has become one of the top classical music festivals in Asia. In 2000, he founded the China Philharmonic Orchestra, which was listed by Gramophone magazine as one of the "top 10 most inspiring orchestras" in 2009. Yu is also the artistic director of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.