Lynne Davis receives distinguished French title
Lynne Davis, who holds the Ann and Dennis Ross Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship of Organ at Wichita State University, has been awarded one of France’s most distinguished titles, that of “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture and Communications, Frederic Mitterand.
In France, honorific titles follow one’s name, said Davis. Officially, it will read “Lynne Firmin-Didot, nee Davis, Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.”
“It is a very great honor for me to receive this distinction,” Davis said. “Through my music, I have always striven to carry high the colors of France, its language, its beauty and that singular undefinable quality that sets it apart from other cultures.
“At such a time as this, I can't help thinking of how proud my parents and my late husband, Pierre Firmin-Didot, would have been.”
Since 1957, France has awarded l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres to recognize eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The award is given at three levels: Commandeur (Commander), Officier (Officer), Chevalier (Knight).
Davis, an associate professor, received WSU’s annual Excellence in Creativity Award in 2011 for finding new ways to showcase the world-famous 4,600-pipe Marcussen organ, bringing attention to the quality of her music students and fostering her own creativity. She also recently recorded a CD in performance at Wiedemann Hall; all proceeds from its sales go to student scholarships for the organ program.
After earning the Bachelor of Music in organ performance from the University of Michigan in 1971, Davis went to France for further study. There, she studied organ with Marie-Claire Alain, Maurice and Marie-Madeleine Durufle, Jean Langlais at the Schola Cantorum and Edouard Souberbielle. She joined the WSU faculty in 2006, after holding organ professorships at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Clamart and the National Regional Conservatory of Music and Dance in Caen, both in France.