Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France
Welcome Address, 21 May 2018
It is a great pleasure to welcome you tonight at the Consulate for the annual gala award dinner organized by Pro Musicis to enhance the art of music and the musicians who keep it alive.
The passion Charles E. Mitchell and his wife, first residents of the French Consulate in the 1920s, had for music led them to implement an important tradition of musical events hosting the great artists of the time. The renowned pianist Harold Bauer notably helped Mrs. Mitchell to hold monthly musical programs motivated by the wish to share the art of music.
So it is particularly significant to renew this tradition today, thanks to Pro Musicis and to the Solera Quartet who will be performing for us. They will then receive the Pro Musicis International Award for performance and the Father Eugène Merlet Award for prison outreach.
Indeed, for over 50 years Pro Musicis has been auditioning concert artists both in Paris and New York City to discover inspired musicians who are not only passionate about their art but are also demonstrating passion for social outreach.
Here at the Consulate we strongly value this rich cultural policy that connects in a very pioneering way classical music and social mission.
This is a direct heritage of Father Merlet’s devotion for the underserved. Father Merlet was the founder of Pro Musicis in Paris and successfully brought it to the United States in 1969. Frenchman from Brittany and Capuchin-Franciscan priest, he was an exceptional man who devoted his entire life to others and to art.
He understood in a highly innovative way that art is a very effective trigger for dialogue, capable of bridging cultures, people and communities together. Pro Musicis continues to hold this prevailing value dear to its heart.
I would like to thank the organizers of this event and wish you all a delightful evening. Thank you.