The flautist will become the latest Australian to be awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

Australian flautist Jane Rutter is to be awarded the prestigious medal Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Government. The award recognises eminent artists, writers and people who have contributed to the arts in France and around the world.

“It is truly thrilling!” said Rutter, “I have a huge affiliation with France: Paris is my second home. The impact of France culturally and politically on the world is immeasurable, so to be honoured by the French with their extraordinary artistic and democratic history carries enormous value for me.”

Australian flautist Jane Rutter, photo © Brendan Read

Rutter will be decorated by the French Ambassador, His Excellency Christophe Lecourtier, at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in November in which Rutter will perform a programme of French flute music.

Rutter has made a career championing the flute music of France. Her film An Australian in Paris is a reminiscence of her student days in Paris as well as homage to the music of that country and her teachers Alain Marion and Jean-Pierre Rampal. What is it about French music that inspires her? “As the Paris Opera Garnier was built and Chopin proved that the right hand of the piano is an eloquent voice,” she says, “the French fell in love with vocally-inspired music. So there is a narrative in the harmonic and melodic structure of most French music – even in its most contemporary form. Almost without fail, it follows the sense of vocal line. There is a sensuality, a manicured violence and controlled elegance about French Music.”

Buoyed by this recognition, Rutter has no intention of scaling back her association with France and its music. “I plan to continue making recordings of French music, transcribing works for flute,” Rutter says, “I have an entirely solo French flute album nearly finished and due for release. Also, as many of the flute playing skills I learnt from my two French flute teachers Alain Marion, and Jean-Pierre Rampal, are being taught less and less outside France, I intend to develop an online teaching program to help younger players find immediacy and instinct in their own playing. This was the biggest gift to me in my professional life – when my French flute teachers allowed me to access the best part of who I am through my flute playing. I want to pass this knowledge on.”

Rutter is not the first Australian musician to be honoured by the French Government this year, with Perth-based British organist Joseph Nolan awarded the medal Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in April.

Jane Rutter will receive her medal at a concert in the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room on November 7

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