CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti Returns to Chicago for Final Two Programs of 2013-14 Season, Now thru 6/21
Riccardo Muti, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), returns to Chicago in June for his final two programs of the 2013/14 season with concerts today, June 12, 13, 14 and 17 (Schubert and Mozart) and 19, 20 and 21 (Schubert and Mahler). On June 20, Maestro Muti will receive an honorary degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and will deliver the main commencement address to its graduates.
At the end of the Muti-led programs in June, the CSO will have concluded its 2013/14 Schubert Cycle, having performed all of Schubert's symphonies as well as other orchestral and choral works by the composer. Two major Lieder recitals were also featured this season.
"Through the symphonies and the other music of Schubert," says Muti, "I think the public will be able to understand one of the most beautiful and tragic personalities in the world of music."
From the beginning, the CSO's Schubert Cycle under Muti received critical acclaim. Representative quotes from reviews include these:
"At once tightly wound and filled with the leggerezza (lightness) that Muti says characterizes Italian music, the overture received a thrilling performance that had you scratching your head as to why no other conductor had programmed it here." Chicago Sun-Times on Overture in the Italian Style in C Major, February 7, 2014
June 12-17 - Schubert and Mozart
The first week's program (June 12, 13, 14 and 17) includes Schubert's Symphony No. 1 which was last performed by the CSO more than 30 years ago, in 1982. One of the composer's earliest works, written when he was 16, the First demonstrates the influences of other Viennese composers whose music Schubert likely grew up listening to and performing-among them Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. The program also includes Schubert's Symphony No. 6 and Mozart's Bassoon Concerto featuring CSO Principal Bassoon David McGill as soloist. These performances mark McGill's final solo appearances at Orchestra Hall; he leaves the CSO at the end of the summer to take a full-time teaching post at Northwestern University.
June 19-21 - Schubert and Mahler
In the second week, June 19-21, Muti and the CSO conclude the season performing Schubert's Symphony No. 5 and Mahler's Symphony No. 1. Schubert's Fifth Symphony received its first performance in 1816. It was one of the 20-year old composer's first works to be performed publicly. Scored for a small orchestra without clarinets, the work most closely resembles Mozart's style, with which Schubert was infatuated during this period of his life. Mahler's Symphony No. 1, written nearly 50 years after Schubert's death, continues the legacy of Viennese composers from Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to Brahms and others as masters of the symphonic form. Mahler's first attempt at symphonic work is distinct and perhaps his best known, and yet it was also heavily influenced by those who came before him.
Muti and Mahler
Though these concerts mark the first time that Muti has led a Mahler symphony with the CSO, Muti's history with Mahler extends back several decades. He has conducted nearly all of Mahler's lieder and has recorded the First Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Fourth Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic.
Commenting on Mahler, Muti said, "Mahler is a very deep composer, and to conduct his music well you need a great knowledge of the technique of composition-even though Mahler specifies everything for the conductor. You must understand the spirit of this great composer which represents not only the soul of central Europe, but the end of an entire empire, and, in a way, also the end of a society of certain values."
Northwestern Commencement Address on June 20
On June 20, 2014, Muti is among five distinguished individuals to be recognized with honorary degrees at Northwestern University's 156th commencement ceremony. Muti delivers the main commencement address at the ceremony, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 20, at Northwestern's Ryan Field. Other honorary degree recipients are Sara Bloomfield, director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Richard Easterlin, an influential economist; Emmy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman; and legendary, Grammy Award-winning musician Stevie Wonder.
Recent Performances Abroad; Award from L'Opera
Between his March and June residencies, Muti was in Spain, where he conducted two performances of Verdi's Requiem with the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini, the chorus and orchestra of Teatro Real in Madrid and the chorus of la Comunidad de Madrid. The first was in the Toledo Cathedral on April 12, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the artist El Greco. Among the luminaries in attendance at this sold-out performance were Spain's Queen Sofía and its prime minister, Mariano Rajoy; several thousand people watched it on a giant screen in the Zocodover, the main square in Toledo. Two days later, the performance was repeated in the Teatro Real in memory of Gerard Mortier, who was artistic director there when he recently passed away.
In May, Muti led the Vienna Philharmonic in sold-out concerts that opened this year's Vienna Festival. On May 7, Muti participated in a public conversation moderated by Peter Jarolin.
Also in May, Muti was honored in Milan at the Etta Limiti Prize Gala where he was awarded the "Italian Ambassador of Culture in the World" prize from L'Opera magazine.
Through June 1, Riccardo Muti is in Tokyo with the Rome Opera conducting Verdi's Simon Boccanegra and Nabucco.
Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. Sponsorship of the Music Director for performances on June 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20 and 21 is provided in part by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.
Venue, Ticket, and Program Details
All programs take place at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago, 220 S. Michigan, Avenue, between Adams and Jackson Streets.
Tickets for all CSO concerts can be purchased by phone at 800?223?7114 or 312-294?3000; online at cso.org or at the box office at Symphony Center. Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040. Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.