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Conductor Ion Marin honored with France's Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters

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Conductor Ion Marin was presented with the French Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters "for his immense career, for his tireless friendship for France, for the constant connection he has established" between France and Romania, as French ambassador in Bucharest Laurence Auer said at the award ceremony.

In his acceptance speech, Ion Marin said that one of the important lessons he learned in his youth was that "art needs freedom in order to be shared" and paid homage to the openness shown by French culture to creators worldwide.

He also spoke about Romania of the '80s, which he decided to leave, and about the influence French culture has had on him.

"I was born and raised in a country I left 35 years ago, a country where freedom did not exist, where equality was just a word in the wooden language, in the jargon of communist logic, opposed to fraternity and which manifested itself only through the suffering that bound us," he confessed.

Referring to the influence French culture has had on him, from children's and youth literature to music and cinema, the musician said: "I owe my training and my dreams to French culture, from the Bibliotheque Rose et Verte, through Hector Malot, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, to finally reach Maupassant, Balzac, Baudelaire, Marcel Proust and Jacques Prevert. It wasn't only literature, but also French theater and cinema one could only have access to through the French Institute in Bucharest. All these things were decisive for my future," said the artist.

He mentioned that that seven French presidents have been present at his concerts over time and that he holds a "dear memory" about Jacques Chirac. "I was deeply marked by our discussions about culture in general and music in particular," he said of his meeting with the former French head of state.

Ion Marin also remarked that "France has always known how to honor culture and artists".

In the end, he paid tribute to his loved ones. "Friendship is one of the great gifts life has offered me. (...) In the life of an international artist, joy alternates with sadness. You must have a very solid inner temple. The pillars of my temple are my wife and my son," said the conductor.

Born in Romania in 1960, Ion Marin studied composition, piano and conducting at the Music Academy in Bucharest and at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg. In 1986 he left Romania and began a new life in Vienna. He became a resident conductor at the Vienna State Opera during the tenure of Claudio Abbado (1987-1991), and benefited from the guidance of conducting greats Herbert von Karajan and Carlos Kleiber.

Conductor Ion Marin's discography includes over 40 titles released under record labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, EMI, Sony or Philips, which brought him three Grammy nominations, the Diapason d'Or and the German Record Critics' Award. In 2012 he received the ECHO Klassik award, in the Bestseller category.

Among the soloists he regularly performs with are Martha Argerich, Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Maxim Vengerov, Gidon Kremer, Helene Grimaud, Placido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu and Renee Fleming. He has also collaborated with iconic musical personalities such as Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich and Alexis Weissenberg.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/asociatia.muzicaartacultura)

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