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Two of the world’s finest conductors have received top honours this week. On Monday, Daniel Barenboim collected one of France’s most prestigious awards, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, and yesterday Zubin Mehta was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
President Nicolas Sarkozy presented Barenboim with the Legion of Honour at a ceremony at the Elysée Palace, at which Barenboim addressed the audience in French, commenting on his time in the country.
“I’ve had the honour of spending 15 years heading the Paris Orchestra. You don’t need to be told that it’s not always easy with the French, but I have wonderful memories of those 15 years.”
Barenboim’s award recognises his unstinting work to unite young Arab and Israeli musicians through the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which he founded in 1999 with the late Palestinian academic Edward Said.
Zubin Mehta’s star, the 243rd on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, recognises the 50th anniversary of his illustrious musical career. Members of the Los Angeles, Israel and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras performed during the ceremony in tribute to him. Mehta commented “what a wonderful surprise” it was that all three orchestras performed, and said “I am grateful to this country, which has taken care of me for so many years."
See photos of both ceremonies below.