As CSO’s music director turns 80, Lightfoot proclaims ‘Riccardo Muti Day In Chicago’
Report: The celebrated Italian conductor, who became the Chicago Symphony’s 10th music director in 2010, will be 80 on July 28.
By Nancy Malitz
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued a proclamation recognizing July 28, 2021, as “Riccardo Muti Day” in the city of Chicago, in honor of “an extraordinary man” on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
“I could not be more proud to join his family, friends, colleagues, and fans in commemorating this occasion,” stated Mayor Lightfoot, while noting Muti’s multiple Grammy Awards with the CSO and his work to bring music to all Chicagoans including seniors, veterans, students and incarcerated youths.
Muti became the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2010-11 season, and he is scheduled to conclude his tenure at the end of the 2021-22 season.
He first conducted the CSO while still in his thirties, during the summer of 1973 the orchestra was in residence at the Ravinia Festival. But then Muti remained absent from Chicago during his long span as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-1992).
In fact, the eminent conductor would not return to lead the CSO in another concert until 2007, when negotiations to bring him to Chicago as music director began in earnest. The deal was sealed in 2008.
During those intervening years, Muti became a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, and with the top opera companies in Rome, Vienna, Munich and London. His belated debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera did not happen until 2010.
Below: Mayor Lightfoot’s full proclamation, along with Italy’s reaction: