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A Conductor for the 21st Century

Carlos Miguel Prieto

Carlos Miguel Prieto

Wednesday at 9:00 pm


Mexican maestro Carlos Miguel Prieto is getting a lot of attention from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra’s audience seems to love him, he’s great with kids, and speaks Spanish—all important assets for the CSO, as the organization works to engage the greater Chicago community.

When it comes to the importance of acknowledging a community’s diverse population, Prieto not only gets it, he lives for it. As music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic, Prieto is always willing to be interviewed by school kids, or to deliver a lecture about conducting and spirituality to seminarians, or to celebrate Chinese New Year with a pipa concerto.

Since taking the Philharmonic’s helm in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Prieto has guided the organization through temporary facilities, homeless musicians, financial ruin, and the economic downturn of 2008. With a renewed contract, his ambition is to raise musicians’ salaries, and restore the Orpheum Theater, which was badly damaged by storm.

Another one of Prieto’s pet projects is the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, which proudly fills its ranks with young players from across North and South America. It’s that chemistry he’s developed with younger players that the Chicago Symphony has harnessed for its own training orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Hear Carlos Miguel Prieto lead the Civic Orchestra in Richard Strauss’s hefty tone poem Ein Heldenleben on Wednesday at 9:00 pm.

When it comes to exposing young ears to Classical music, Prieto says it’s important to trust the kids’ intelligence: “Let them explore.”

Carlos Miguel Prieto is music director of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería (Mexico), and the YOA Orchestra of the Americas.

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