President & CEO of The Royal Conservatory of Music, Dr. Peter Simon received the prestigious Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary, presented by the Ambassador of Hungary to Canada, Her Excellency Mária Vass-Salazar.
The award is one of the highest orders of decorations that can be granted to civilian or military personnel by the Hungarian Republic.
“I accept this award to honour the bravery of millions of Hungarians who resisted Soviet oppression and to commemorate those who died defending the democratic principles of freedom and right of self-determination,” said Dr. Peter Simon. “My Hungarian heritage is a source of pride, and the history commemorated on this day (23 October) is an important part of my family’s story, as it is for other Hungarian-Canadians.”
The Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa hosted the event which featured a performance by the internationally acclaimed Kelemen Quartet, comprised of award-winning Hungarian violinists Barnabás Kelemen; his wife, Katalin Kokas, an alumna of The Taylor Academy; violinist Jonian Ilias Kadesha and cellist Vashti Mimosa Hunter.
Following their performance in Ottawa, the Kelemen Quartet performed at The Royal Conservatory’s Mazzoleni Hall, along with a chamber orchestra of students from The Glenn Gould School and The Taylor Academy. The concerts also coincide with Ontario’s first-ever Hungarian Heritage month throughout the month of October.