Riccardo Muti Conducts the Chicago Symphony in Three Weeks of Subscription Concerts

Riccardo Muti Conducts the Chicago Symphony in Three Weeks of Subscription Concerts

Music Director Riccardo Muti returns in April to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in three weeks of subscription concerts. Muti and the CSO conclude the CSO's season-long presentation of Beethoven's piano concertos in a performance of the Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) with Radu Lupu as soloist followed by a rare performance of A Symphony to Dante's Divine Comedy by Liszt (April 27-29 ). Muti's residency with the CSO culminates with performances of the complete cycle of symphonies by Johannes Brahms (May 4-9 and May 11-13). During his residency, Muti also leads the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in a free, open rehearsal on April 30.

Muti begins his spring CSO residency with a program (April 27-29) that features music of Beethoven and Liszt. Internationally acclaimed pianist Radu Lupu joins Muti and the CSO in Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto (Emperor). Lupu returns as a soloist with the Orchestra for the first time since 2013. Completing the program is Liszt's Dante Symphony. The composer's multi-movement symphonic poem is inspired by the Dante Alighieri's journey through Hell and Purgatory, as described in the Italian poet's 14-century masterpiece The Divine Comedy. Liszt's evocative work utilizes progressive harmonies and special musical effects to take listeners into the heart of Dante's poem, ultimately reaching the sublime peace of heaven in the work's final section. Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, prepared by Duain Wolfe, along with soprano Alison Wahl join Muti and the CSO for this performance.

In May, Muti leads the CSO in performances of the complete Brahms symphonies beginning with a program (May 4, 5, 6 and 9) that includes Symphony Nos. 1 and 2 and continuing with a program that includes Symphony Nos. 3 and 4 (May 11, 12 and 13). Muti has previously led the CSO in critically acclaimed performances of Brahms's Second Symphony during 2012 and 2013 subscription concerts. These performances mark Muti and the Orchestra's first performances together of the composer's First, Third and Fourth symphonies.

Brahms, a master musical craftsman, spent 21 years composing his first symphony. Once his first symphony premiered in 1876, Brahms wrote his other three symphonies in quick succession in 1877, 1883, and 1885. While remaining true to classical symphonic forms, Brahms created rich harmonic language and orchestral colors that took the form to new heights.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has a long association with the music of Brahms, with its founder and first music director, Theodore Thomas, first championing work of the composer in the early years of the ensemble. Thomas and the CSO performed Brahms's Third Symphony in 1892, during the Orchestra's first season. The commitment to his symphonies remained strong with at least one symphony by Brahms being included in the Orchestra's programs for 83 consecutive years. Muti joins all previous CSO music directors save one (Artur Rodzinski, CSO Music Director 1947-48) in leading the Orchestra in the complete symphonies of Brahms during their respective tenures.

Prior to his return to Chicago for this residency, Muti led the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale in performances on March 30 and 31 in Florence, Italy. The performances were part of the inaugural G-7 Culture Summit, which explored the use of culture as an instrument of dialogue among different peoples and nations. Muti also recently returned to the Seoul Arts Center in March 2017 to lead the Gyeonggi Philharmonic and Soprano Vittoria Yeo Stern in an All-Verdi program.

The CSO's music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.

The CSO performances on April 27, 28 and 29 and May 4, 5, 6 and 9 are generously sponsored by the Zell Family Foundation.

The appearance of the Chicago Symphony Chorus is made possible by a generous gift from Jim and Kay Mabie.

The CSO concerts on May 11, 12 and 13 are generously sponsored by the Juli Plant Grainger Fund for Artistic Excellence.

CSO Tuesday series concerts are sponsored by United Airlines.

Tickets for all CSOA-presented concerts can be purchased by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294-3000; online at cso.org, or at the Symphony center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604.

Artists, programs and prices are subject to change.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
Radu Lupu, piano
Women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe, chorus director

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat Major (Emperor)
LISZT Dante Symphony

Tickets: $40-$270

Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Open Rehearsal

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Riccardo Muti, conductor

BRAHMS Symphony No. 3, Movements 1 & 2

Free and open to the public; tickets are required.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, May 4, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 5, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 6, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor

BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73

Tickets: $45-$270

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, May 11, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 12, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 8:00 p.m.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor

BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98

Tickets: $45-$270

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Riccardo Muti

Riccardo Muti, born in Naples, Italy, is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), he already had more than forty years of experience at the helm of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Philharmonia Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Teatro alla Scala. He is a guest conductor for orchestras and opera houses all over the world: the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, and many others.

Muti studied piano under Vincenzo Vitale at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella in his hometown of Naples, graduating with distinction. He subsequently received a diploma in composition and conducting from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, also graduating with distinction. His principal teachers were Bruno Bettinelli and Antonino Votto, principal assistant to Arturo Toscanini at La Scala. After he won the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition-by unanimous vote of the jury-in Milan in 1967, Muti's career developed quickly. In 1968, he became principal conductor of Florence's Maggio Musicale, a position that he held until 1980. In 2017, Muti led the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale in performances that were part of the historic G-7 Culture Summit which explored the use of culture as an instrument of dialogue among different peoples and nations.