Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted the most important orchestras in the world: from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, from the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France, as well as the Vienna Philharmonic, an orchestra to which he is linked by particularly close and important ties, and with which he has appeared in Vienna, Salzburg and around the world since 1971. In September 2010, Riccardo Muti became Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and in the same year was named Musician of the Year by Musical America.
Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic
The nearly 50 year artistic partnership between Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic has produced countless musical highlights. It is not only the astounding number of approximately 500 concerts, but also the exceptional quality of these performances that lends Maestro Muti special significance in the history of the Vienna Philharmonic. Muti prepares himself for his concerts with intensive research and places emphasis on many details that give him a profound knowledge of the specific Vienna Philharmonic sound. This special bond is reflected by the fact that Riccardo Muti was awarded Honorary Membership in the Vienna Philharmonic in Salzburg upon his 70th birthday in 2011.
Riccardo Muti’s social and civic conscience as an artist is demonstrated by his concerts performed in places symbolising our troubled past and contemporary history, which he has conducted as part of “Le vie dell’Amicizia” (The Paths of Friendship) project, produced by the Ravenna Festival. Concerts were given in Sarajevo (1997), Beirut (1998), Jerusalem (1999), Moscow (2000), Yerevan and Istanbul (2001), New York (2002), Cairo (2003), Damascus (2004), El Diem, Tunisia (2005), Meknes (2006), Concert for Lebanon (2007), Mazara del Vallo (2008), Sarajevo (2009), Trieste (2010), Nairobi (2011), Ravenna (2012), Mirandola (2013), Redipuglia (2104), Otranto (2015), Tokyo (2016) and Tehran (2017). These were performed with the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the “Musicians of Europe United”, a group made up of the top players of Europe’s major orchestras, and most recently with the Cherubini Youth Orchestra.
Muti has received innumerable international honors over the course of his career. He is Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic and a recipient of the German Verdienstkreuz. He received the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at Élysée Palace. He was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain. The Salzburg Mozarteum awarded him its silver medal for his contribution to Mozart’s music, and in Vienna he was elected an Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and the Vienna State Opera. Russian President Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship, and the State of Israel has honored him with the Wolf Prize for the arts. He has received honorary degrees from many universities in Italy and abroad. The most recent was in 2014 when he received an honorary degree from Northwestern University in Chicago.