Honorary Degree Citation - Franz Paul Decker*

by P. Cohen, June 1975

Mr. Chancellor:

I have the honour to present to you Maestro Franz Paul Decker, conductor of international renown.

To honour Maestro Decker is to honour a man universally recognized as a major exponent of his chosen art, a man who in his eight years in this community has developed an orchestra of international stature, a man whose contribution to the cultural life of this university has been as generous as it has been unique.

A native of Cologne, Germany, Maestro Decker is a graduate of both the Universit of Cologne and the State Institute for Musical Education. With his appointment in 1945 as Director of the Cologne Opera Orchestra, he entered on a career that has brought him before the most prestigious orchestras of our day. He has conducted, among others, the Moscow State Orchestra, the Leningrad, Berlin, Vienna and Royal Philharmonics, the B.B.C. Symphony, Radio Budapest and the National Orchestras of Scotland, Belgium, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. As permanent director, notably of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and our own Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Decker has achieved renown as one of the great orchestra builders of our time. His organizational skills, and his profound understandinç of the orchestral literature have earned him a place among the most prominent interpretors of his generation.

The numerous honours that have been conferred upon Franz Paul Decker reflect the gratitude of music lovers throughout the world. These include distinguishe service medals from the governments of Brazil and the Netherlands, the "Order of Merit, First Class" from the Federal Republic of Germany, and the singular honour of being invited to conduct the opening concert of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

To honour this distinguished musician is to honour a man passionately committed to music as an educational force, a man whose vision and enthusiastic support have made the collaboration between this university and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra an event without precedent in higher education. The collaboration has given us open rehearsals of the full orchestra in our theatre, chamber music and seminars in our classrooms and art galleries, and a superb faculty of artist teachers and musicians in residence. It has also tuned these halls to the sounds of great music, and in the process brought us closer to that harmony of sense and spirit that is the raison d'etre of true education.

Finally, it is most appropriate that we honour Maestro Franz Paul Decker on thi the first convocation of our new Faculty of Fine Arts. His integrity and his scholarship, his uncompromising pursuit of excellence and his devotion to the highest ideals of his discipline remain an inspiration for all of us. Above al the baton of Franz Paul Decker reveals the timelessness of great art it reaches beyond a particular age and a particular audience to touch the core of all humanity.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Maestro Franz Paul Decker, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased