Riccardo Muti, Conductor



Riccardo Muti, Biography

Riccardo Muti (Italy, July 28, 1941) is considered one of the world's greatest conductors especially of the operas of Verdi. Since 2010, he is the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Illinois USA, which is considered one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the “Big Five”.
Muti has been a prolific recording artist and has received dozens of honors, titles, awards and prizes. 

Childhood and Youth

Riccardo Muti’s father was a doctor and amateur singer while his mother was a professional singer. He received piano and singing lessons at an early age and studied piano at the music conservatory of Naples, Italy. After being awarded diploma cum laude, he studied composition and conducting at the Guiseppe Verdi Conservatory, Milan. At the age of 26, he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for Conductors in Milan in 1967.

Adult Life and Career

From 1968 until 1979, Riccardo Muti was principal conductor and music director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, an annual festival in Florence.
Since 1969, Muti is married to Maria Cristina Mazzavillani, the founder and director of the Ravenna Festival, Italy. They have two sons and a daughter.

In 1973, at the age of 32, Muti was appointed the principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. In the same year, he also made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut at the Ravinia Festival in Illinois, USA. The Ravinia Festival at the Ravinia Park is the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and oldest outdoor music festival in the United States. It holds a series of outdoor and indoor performances from June to September since 1936.

From 1980 to 1992, Muti was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, USA, also referred to as one of the "Big Five". 
In 1986 Muti became principal conductor of the Filarmonica della Scala, Milan Italy, with which he received the Viotti d'Oro at the Viotti International Music Competition, Italy, in 1988. He resigned from this post in 2005.
Since 2010, Muti is the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), USA.
In October 2011, Muti accepted an invitation by the Orchestra of Opera di Roma to become a "lifetime conductor" of Opera di Roma, Italy.

Special Performance with Interruption

In March 2011, Muti had broken with opera protocols and strict conventions and interrupted conducting the performance of Verdi’s opera Nabucco at the Opera di Roma to deliver a short political message: After the end of the chorus “Va pensiero” which contains the lyrics “Oh my country, so beautiful and so lost”, he turned to the audience and, referring to the severe budget cuts announced by the Berlusconi government, spoke of the need to keep culture alive in Italy. Muti then invited the audience to participate in an encore of the chorus “Va pensiero”. The standing audience knew the lyrics by heart and sang along with the on-stage chorus. Members of the chorus were in tears and Muti said later that killing culture in a country like Italy is a crime against society.

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Photo: "Riccardo Muti" by Photo: Andreas Praefcke - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Riccardo_Muti.jpg#/media/File:Riccardo_Muti.jpg