TEHRAN, Oct. 9 (Mehr News Agency) -- Musician and guest conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra Majid Entezami has criticized Iranian officials' apathetic reception of Shahram Nazeri's great honor of being presented the Chevalier medal, one of France's most prestigious awards.
Nazeri was presented with the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur medal, a most coveted trophy in the world of art and culture, by the French government during a ceremony in Paris on September 29.
It was given to him in recognition of the meticulous attention he has paid to the musical interpretation and vocalization of the transcendent lyrics of the Iranian poet and mystic Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi.
"The acquisition of the Chevalier medal by an Iranian singer was not an event of small significance. It was appropriate that officials share their fellow countryman's honor, at least, through sending messages of congratulations," Entezami told the Mehr news Agency on Monday.
"Unfortunately, we witnessed a niggardly reaction on the part of our officials who refused even to send a short congratulatory message," he sighed.
The New York Times has dubbed Nazeri, the "Persian Nightingale" and he has been named "Iran's Pavarotti" by the Christian Science Monitor.
"I was very surprised at the officials' indifference, especially as I have seen their approbation and congratulatory messages for sportsmen who score goals or receive titles," Entezami said.
"However, I was very glad to notice that the attainment received some brief coverage in newspapers. He has obtained the award after years of endeavor to fuse the poetry of Rumi with Iranian vocal music," he noted.
Analysts believe that Iran's official coldness regarding Nazeri's triumph is linked to recent anti-Iranian remarks made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
Moreover, it is conjectured that Nazeri's comments before leaving Tehran for Paris to receive the award may have enraged Iranian officials.
In an interview, Nazeri made a distinction between political and cultural relations saying, "Cultural movements take their own course regardless of political disputes."
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