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.
Thursday, June 12, 2014, 8 p.m.
Friday, June 13, 2014, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 14, 2014, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
David McGill, bassoon
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 8 p.m.
Friday, June 20, 2014, 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 8 p.m.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
About Riccardo Muti (www.RiccardoMutiMusic.com)
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 had more than forty years of experience at the helm of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He continues to be in demand as a guest conductor for other great orchestras and opera houses: the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and many others. He also is honorary director for life of the Rome Opera.
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, where his principal teachers were Bruno Bettinelli and Antonino Votto. After winning the Guido Cantelli Conducting Competition-by unanimous vote of the jury-in Milan in 1967, his career developed quickly. In 1968, he became principal conductor of Florence's Maggio Musicale, a position that he held until 1980.
Herbert von Karajan invited him to conduct at the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1971, and Muti has maintained a close relationship with the summer festival and with its great orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, for more than forty years. When he conducted the philharmonic's 150th anniversary concert in 1992, he was presented with the Golden Ring, a special sign of esteem and affection, and in 2001, his outstanding artistic contributions to the orchestra were further recognized with the Otto Nicolai Gold Medal. He is an honorary member of Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music), the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Vienna State Opera.
Muti succeeded Otto Klemperer as chief conductor and music director of London's Philharmonia Orchestra in 1973, holding that position until 1982. From 1980 to 1992, he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 1986, he became music director of Milan's Teatro alla Scala. During his nineteen-year tenure, in addition to directing major projects such as the Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy and the Wagner Ring cycle, Muti conducted operatic and symphonic repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, also leading hundreds of concerts with the Filarmonica della Scala and touring the world with both the opera company and the orchestra. His tenure as music director, the longest of any in La Scala's history, culminated in the triumphant reopening of the restored opera house with Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta, originally commissioned for La Scala's inaugural performance in 1778.
Throughout his career, Muti has dedicated much time and effort to young musicians. In 2004, he founded the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini (Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra), and he completed a five-year project with this group to present works of the eighteenth-century Neapolitan School at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 2011.
Muti has demonstrated his concern for social and civic issues by bringing music as a gesture of unity and hope to such places as hospitals, prisons, and war-torn and poverty-stricken areas around the world. As part of Le vie dell'Amicizia (The paths of friendship), a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy, he has conducted friendship concerts in Sarajevo, Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, Yerevan, Istanbul, New York, Cairo, Damascus, El Djem, Meknès, Mazara del Vallo, L'Aquila, Trieste, and Nairobi. He has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Muti has received innumerable international honors. He is a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic, Officer of the French Legion of Honor, and a recipient of the German Verdienstkreuz. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on him the title of honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship, and Pope Benedict XVI made him a Knight of the Grand Cross, First Class of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great-the highest papal honor. Muti also has received Israel's Wolf Prize for the arts, Sweden's prestigious Birgit Nilsson Prize, Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, and the gold medal from Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his promotion of Italian culture abroad. He has received more than twenty honorary degrees from universities around the world.
Riccardo Muti's vast catalog of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, ranges from the traditional symphonic and operatic repertoires to contemporary works. His debut recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Verdi's Messa da Requiem, released in 2010 by CSO Resound, won two Grammy awards. His second recording with the CSO and Chorus, Verdi's Otello, released in 2013 by CSO