Riccardo Muti

The conductor Riccardo Muti is the subject of a feature article by Andrew Clark this week in the Financial Times. Muti has been one of my favorites for a long time: a intelligent, principled musician whose interpretations are thoroughly considered and executed. His technique is extraordinary.

Riccardo Muti 
(CSO Sounds & Stories)
Muti, now thriving in his native Italy, conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra for twelve years. In Philadelphia he made a number of recordings with the orchestra and played a leading role in securing a new concert hall. He was often distressed, though, with the consumeristic misunderstandings Americans tend to hold about art. As he describes it to Clark:
'I always felt the accent was more on entertainment than the cultural experience,' says Muti. 'When I made tours around the US, I was shocked to find reviews written on a page called 'entertainment': topless shows next to Bruckner Seven. That says it all. It says culture is something to consume, not to engage with. When I go to a concert or opera, my attitude is to go to a place where I make my mind work. But in some theatres these ladies sit and wait for an Italian singer to bring an atmosphere of pizza and tomato and sunshine. E un lavoro—music is a work of the mind. That's why I don't like programmes with a selection of arias and choruses. This has nothing to do with culture.'

(Quoted by Andrew Clark: 'Muti's Way,' Financial Times, 2005 January 21)
Muti will be conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra's 60th Anniversary Concert this week in London. In February he will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in a benefit concert.

More about Muti's return to Philadelphia appears in Andante Music News.

2010: Riccardo Muti has been appointed music director of the Chicago Symphony.

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