Notre-Dame de Paris: Rebuilding a Legacy.
April 15, 2021 marked the second anniversary of the fire that destroyed Notre-Dame de Paris’ spire and caused extensive damage to the cathedral. In addition to President Macron’s visit to Notre-Dame, we commemorated the occasion with a special virtual event, Notre-Dame de Paris: Rebuilding a Legacy. This event was organized by the Embassy of France in the United States as part of their French Series.
Moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Kennicott, the chief Art and Architecture Critic of The Washington Post, the panel included Peter Kovler, Chairman of the Judy & Peter Blum Kovler Foundation and major supporter of the reconstruction efforts, Olivier Latry, Titular Organist of the Grand Organ at Notre-Dame de Paris, Stephen Murray, Professor Emeritus of Medieval Art History at Columbia University, and Michel Picaud, President of Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris.
The panel discussed Notre-Dame Cathedral’s history, its architecture and the reconstruction efforts, including progress made over the past two years, the current state of the Grand Organ, and how the generosity of American donors provides essential support to rebuilding the cathedral.
As a longtime supporter of Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris, Mr. Kovler became involved with the original restoration campaign before the fire occurred. He shared his thoughts on why he and his foundation support our cause, saying,
“We’re interested in French culture and history and the role in the 21st century potentially that American philanthropy can play. Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris is one vehicle in a very globalized world. […] I would love for my grandchildren and for the next generation — the 21st century, 22nd century — another 800 years to be able to see this magnificent creation. There are only a handful, in my view, of worldwide creations that have lasted so long and which should be able to continue and […] should endure”.
In responding to questions from the audience, the panelists discussed the amount of funds already raised in France and in the U.S., what is left to be done, the materials to be used in rebuilding the cathedral and much more.
The program opened with Olivier Latry performing Pierre Cochereau’s Boléro on the Grand Organ, a performance filmed before the fire in 2019. It closed with a special video from Professor Murray, explaining the construction of Notre-Dame Central through the centuries.
Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris is honored to have participated in this special event with these distinguished panelists and extends its thanks to the Embassy of France in the United States for organizing this occasion.