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


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.

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 now forty-five consecutive 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 also a recipient of a silver medal from the Salzburg Mozarteum for his contribution to the music of W.A. Mozart. 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. In 2015, he founded the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy in Ravenna, Italy, to train young conductors, répétiteurs, and singers in the Italian opera repertoire.

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 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 training young musicians. In 2004, he founded the Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini (Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra), based in his native Italy. He regularly tours with the ensemble to prestigious concert halls and opera houses all over the world.

Since 1997, as part of Le vie dell'Amicizia (The paths of friendship), a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy, Muti has annually conducted large-scale concerts in war-torn and poverty-stricken areas around the world, using music to bring hope, unity, and attention to present day social, cultural, and humanitarian issues.

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. In March 2017, the Italian government recognized Muti with its prestigious Presidente della Repubblica award, presented to Muti for his exceptional contribution to Italian culture in the field of music. He has received more than twenty honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Considered one of the greatest interpreters of Verdi in our time, Muti wrote a book on the composer, Verdi, l'italiano, published in Italian, German, and Japanese. His first book, Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words, also has been published in several languages.

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 Resound, won the 2014 International Opera Award for the Best Complete Opera.

During his time with the CSO, Muti has won over audiences in greater Chicago and across the globe through his music making as well as his demonstrated commitment to sharing classical music. His annual free concerts for the city of Chicago attract tens of thousands of people. He regularly invites subscribers, students, seniors, and people of low incomes to attend, at no charge, his CSO rehearsals. Muti's commitment to artistic excellence and to creating a strong bond between an orchestra and its communities continues to bring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to ever higher levels of achievement and renown.


Other Featured Artists for these Performances:
Radu Lupu
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra: www.cso.org and www.csosoundsandstories.org
Founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Since 2010, the preeminent conductor Riccardo Muti has served as its 10th music director. Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, and Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek are its Mead Composers-in-Residence.

From baroque through contemporary music, the CSO commands a vast repertoire. Its renowned musicians annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago and, each summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. They regularly tour nationally and internationally. Since 1892, the CSO has made 60 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents.

People around the globe listen to weekly radio broadcasts of CSO concerts and recordings on the WFMT radio network and online at cso.org/radio . Recordings by the CSO have earned 62 Grammy Awards, including two in 2011 for Muti's recording with the CSO and Chorus of Verdi's Messa da Requiem (Muti's first of seven releases with the CSO to date). Find details on these and many other CSO recordings at www.cso.org/resound.

The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, which also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Duain Wolfe, Director and Conductor) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training ensemble for emerging professionals. Through its prestigious Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA presents guest artists and ensembles from a variety of genres-classical, jazz, world, and contemporary.

The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO offers community and education programs that annually engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages and backgrounds. Through the Institute and other activities, including a free annual concert led by Muti, the CSO is committed to using the power of music to create connections and build community.

The CSO is supported by thousands of patrons, volunteers and institutional and individual donors. The CSO's music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation. The Negaunee Foundation provides generous support in perpetuity for the work of the Negaunee Music Institute.

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