Pianist Nelson Freire has been made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.

The Brazillian pianist received the honour, which is the French government’s highest award for a foreigner and was established by Napoleon Bonaparte himself, from President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This is not the first time the French have shown their appreciation of Freire’s work. In 2002 he was nominated as Soloist of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique and, in 2005, he receieved a special Honours Award acknowledging successes throughout his career. In 2007, he was appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French government – joining the likes of T.S. Eliot, Clint Eastwood and Australia’s own David Stratton.

Elsewhere, Freire has been nominated for two Grammy awards and also recieved Record of the Year in the 2007 Gramophone Awards for his Brahms Concertos with Riccardo Chailly. He continues to record and perform, and his next release on the Decca label – a wide-ranging Liszt recital – is set to be recorded in February.