MUSIC DIRECTOR (2010–PRESENT)
Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he had more than 40 years of experience at the helm of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1968–1980), Philharmonia Orchestra (1973–1982), Philadelphia Orchestra (1980–1992) and Teatro alla Scala (1986–2005).
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.
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 more than 45 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 an honorary member of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music), Vienna Hofmusikkapelle, Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera.
Riccardo Muti's vast catalog of recordings ranges from the traditional symphonic and operatic repertoires to contemporary works, including critically acclaimed recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. His first commercial recording with the Orchestra, Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da Requiem, earned two Grammy® Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance).