Hariprasad Chaurasia gets top French honour

New Delhi: Classical flute exponent Hariprasad Chaurasia will be conferred the Chevalier dans l`Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the highest civilian award in France, by the French government for his contribution to music Nov 9.

The award will be presented to the 72-year-old by French ambassador Jerome K. Bonnafont at a ceremony at the French embassy here.

A book and and a CD ‘Hariprasad Chaurasia and the Art of Improvisation’ by Henri Tournier, the flute maestro`s French assistant at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory, will be released at the awards ceremony.

Chaurasia is also artistic director of the Indian music department at Rotterdam Music Conservatory, where he has been teaching for the past 15 years.

The book offers a discovery of Chaurasia`s "extraordinary mastery of improvisation" and also aims to guide scholars, performers and composers endeavouring to explore his music. The book features related art works by artist Sujata Bajaj.

Chaurasia has been honoured with several distinctions, including the national Sangeet Natak Akademi award and the Padma Vibhushan.

The French government distinction Chevalier dans l`Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) is conferred on "persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world."

Some noted Indian recipients of this honour in the past include photographer Raghu Rai, the late theatre personality and master Habib Tanveer, writer Upamanyu Chatterjee and fashion designer Ritu Beri.