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6 of Muti’s Most Memorable Moments in Chicago

Riccardo Muti conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  9/28/07,

Riccardo Muti conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 9/28/07,

Riccardo Muti, the celebrated conductor from Naples, Italy, came to Chicago in 2010 when he became the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since, Chicagoans have enjoyed many magical moments with the maestro both in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and beyond, as the CSO extends its reach with performances in the community. Read some of our favorite Muti moments below, and be sure to tell us yours in the comments!

 

9/19/10 6:07:38 PM  Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Riccardo Muti at the Concert for Chicago in Millennium Park in Chicago, IL. ©Todd Rosenberg Photography

9/19/10 6:07:38 PM Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Riccardo Muti at the Concert for Chicago in Millennium Park in Chicago, IL. ©Todd Rosenberg Photography

Muti plays his first “Concert for Chicago”

Before the beginning of Muti’s first season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he conducted a free “Concert for Chicago” in Millennium Park in September 2010. The people of Chicago responded by turning out in spades. An estimated 25,000 people attended – so many that some had to be turned away!

9/23/10 10:31:58 PM  Chicago Symphony Orchestra. ©ÊTodd Rosenberg Photography

9/23/10 10:31:58 PM Chicago Symphony Orchestra. ©Todd Rosenberg Photography

Muti conducts his first subscription concert as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Muti’s formal concert debut later the same month raised more than a few eyebrows. The 2010-2011 season opener paired Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique – a repertoire staple – with its less-performed sequel, Lélio. Berlioz himself intended the two to be performed together, but the sprawling and perplexing Lélio has long since fallen out of the repertoire. Berlioz described the work as a “mélologue,” or a musical melodrama-monologue with a narrator, played in the CSO’s performance by actor Gerard Depardieu. Respecting the composer’s wishes, Muti still refuses to perform Symphonie fantastique without its complement to this day.

9/25/11 2:36:15 PM -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti Music Director shows residents of the the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville a photo of composer Francesco Paolo Tosti prior to playing one of his pieces . © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

9/25/11 2:36:15 PM — Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti Music Director shows residents of the the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville a photo of composer Francesco Paolo Tosti prior to playing one of his pieces . © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2011

Muti visits to Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville

Upon being appointed music director of the CSO, Maestro Muti announced his goal to make classical music accessible to as many people as possible. In keeping with that promise, he visited the Illinois Youth Center, an incarceration center for teenage girls, in September 2010. A friendship blossomed between Muti and the girls at the facility, and he has since paid them subsequent visits. Since then, Muti’s visits have expanded to other youth detention centers and prisons in the Chicago area, where he gives interactive recitals alongside soloists and members of the CSO. You can read more about Muti’s visits on the CSO’s Sounds & Stories blog.

nw hospital

Muti pays it forward to Northwestern Hospital

After fainting during rehearsal, Muti was admitted to Northwestern Hospital to receive a pacemaker and treatment for facial fractures. Upon his release in March 2011, the grateful maestro thanked the attentive doctors by putting on chamber concerts in the hospital. CSO musicians played Bach, Haydn, and Mozart for over 500 hospital employees, and the performances were streamed to patients through Northwestern’s closed circuit TV network.

Riccardo Muti conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  9/28/07,

Riccardo Muti conducts Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 9/28/07,

Muti conducts Verdi’s Requiem

Hailed as one of the leading Verdi interpreters, Muti led the CSO in an electrifying rendition of Verdi’s Requiem that was live-streamed to audiences around the world in October 2013. The video is still available on the CSO’s website. Incidentally, the Requiem was the piece at the center of another milestone: it was the first piece Muti recorded with the orchestra in 2009, just after he was appointed music director but before he officially assumed this role in Chicago.

riccardo-muti-blackhawks-fan

Muti scores big with “Chelsea Dagger”

Muti has showed off his Chicago pride on more than one occasion. When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, Muti donned a Blackhawks jersey and led the CSO in a rousing rendition of “Chelsea Dagger,” the Hawks’ goal song. A video of the performance went viral, and a more buttoned-up CSO recently reprised the tune in concert at the end of the 2014/15 season.

 

 

  • Jack Hamilton

    So proud to have him here in Chicago!