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Ordre des arts et des lettres

Since 1957, France has awarded l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Letters) to recognize eminent artists, writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The award is given at three levels: Commandeur (Commander), Officier (Officer), Chevalier (Knight).

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Members of l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Members of l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres


Anne Azéma ’83
Named Chevalier
Honored for her “remarkable artistic talent and career”
Azéma completed a degree in music history at NEC. With Anne Hallmark as her mentor, she became interested in historical performance both as a scholar and as a performer and is currently director of the world-renowned Boston Camerata.


Robert Liew ’80 MM
Named Chevalier
Honored for his “commitment to bringing the best of French culture to Singapore”
Liew studied guitar at NEC and returned to Singapore in 1985 as artistic director of the Singapore Arts Festival. Since 1988, he has been director of Arts Management Associates in Singapore, where he has also been vice-chair of the Federation of Asian Cultural Promotion and president of the Association of Concert and Event Managers of Singapore.


John Hsu ’53, ’55 MM, ’71 hon. DM
Named Chevalier
Honored for his “life-long commitment to French music as it was heard three centuries ago”
Cellist John Hsu was a leading expert in performance practice for Baroque string instruments. He is Old Dominion Foundation Professor of Music, Emeritus, at Cornell University.


Robert Bailey ’70 MM 
Named Chevalier
Honored for his work in promoting French culture in Portland, Oregon. Voice major Robert Bailey was General Director of Portland Opera for 21 years, from 1982 through his retirement in 2003. At Portland, he produced French opera, including the first performance outside France of Reynaldo Hahn’s Le Marchand de Venise (based on Shakespeare). Before coming to Portland, he initiated cultural programming for National Public Radio and managed the Western Opera Theater in San Francisco. Bailey and his wife now live in France.


Steve Lacy
Named Chevalier, 1989, and Commandeur, 2002
After almost four decades living in Europe, jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy moved back to the United States in 2002 to accept a teaching appointment at NEC — his only such institutional affiliation. He taught at NEC up until he died in 2004.


Carl Davis 
Named Chevalier
Honored for his score to Abel Gance’s epic silent film Napoleon, as televised by UK Channel Four in 1980, and since 2000 screened at Royal Festival Hall with Davis’s revised and extended score. Composer Carl Davis studied at NEC in the 1950s and was based in England.