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Muti tests positive, cancels CSO concerts; apprentice maestro steps in to lead program

Submitted by on Jun 16, 2022 – 4:07 pm

Lina González-Granados has been the CSO’s Solti conducting apprentice since February 2020. (Todd Rosenberg photo)

Report: The orchestra’s Sir Georg Solti conducting apprentice, Lina González-Granados, will lead concerts June 16-18 with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. 
By Lawrence B. Johnson

Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  has tested positive for Covid-19 and has canceled his scheduled concerts with the orchestra June 16-18 at Orchestra Hall, the CSO announced. Stepping in for Muti will be the Chicago Symphony’s Sir Georg Solti conducting apprentice, Lina González-Granados, who will lead the originally scheduled program of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and the Beethoven Violin Concerto with soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Muti, who turns 81 in July, is still scheduled to lead the CSO in concerts of Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” June 23-28. Like all members of the Chicago Symphony, the conductor is tested daily for Covid. A spokesperson said he had tested negative Wednesday, June 15, but came up positive the next day. Muti led a morning rehearsal of the Brahms symphony June 16 before his positive test results forced him to cede the baton to González-Granados, who then rehearsed the Beethoven concerto with Mutter.

Muti was said to be experiencing mild symptoms and was reported in good spirits.

Lina González-Granados led the Youth in Music Festival ensemble at Orchestra Hall in April. (Todd Rosenberg photo)

This will be the second time in recent weeks that González-Granados has taken over a CSO program for an indisposed Muti. In April, she led overtures by Rossini and Mozart on a modified program with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes conducting two Mozart concertos from the keyboard. That program originally included Britten’s Piano Concerto and the Schumann Fourth Symphony, but Muti’s unavailability came early enough to allow for a program change. This time, it was an 11th-hour emergency with no time to adjust the program.

A native of Colombia, González-Granados  has held the position of Solti conducting apprentice under Muti’s guidance since February 2020. Her tenure concludes with the end of the CSO’s 2021-22 season this month. González-Granados also has held positions of conducting fellow at the Philadelphia Orchestra and Seattle Symphony. Her principal mentors include Marin Alsop, Bernard Haitink, Bramwell Tovey and Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

González-Granados’ 2021-22 season highlights include returns to the New York Philharmonic and Rochester Philharmonic, as well as debuts with the National Symphony, Spanish National Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, Nürnberger Symphoniker, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Polish National Radio Symphony, Orquesta del Principado de Asturias and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León.

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