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Articles tagged with: Riccardo Muti

Maestro, father, grandfather: Muti dedicates CSO’s Verdi Requiem to massacre victims

Nov 10, 2018 – 2:00 pm
CSO181108_192 Feature image (Todd Rosenberg)

Review: In the aftermath of a California gunman’s rampage, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus delivered heart-stirring performance, resplendent with awe and penitence, delicately threaded with human doubt, and led by the world’s finest living interpreter of this work.

Opulence of ‘Scheherazade,’ Mozart writ large: Who can resist sound of Muti’s Chicago band?

Sep 28, 2018 – 4:28 pm
Muti CSO

Review: Music director Riccardo Muti’s second week of concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was notably conservative – Mozart’s Overture to “Don Giovanni” and his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, together with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” – but even curmudgeonly critics had to acknowledge the consistently high level of performance the maestro drew from his remarkable ensemble in a program Sept. 27 at a packed and enthusiastic Orchestra Hall.

Muti, CSO open with Shostakovich monument ‘Babi Yar’; composer’s widow attends concert

Sep 22, 2018 – 1:03 pm

Review: Music director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened their 2018-19 season Sept. 21 with an eloquent and gripping performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (“Babi Yar”) on verses of Yevgeny Yevtushenko memorializing the massacre of Jews by German soldiers near Kiev in 1941. The composer’s widow, Irina Shostakovich, joined Muti on stage at Orchestra Hall for a post-performance conversation.

In single soft flourish of Rossini ‘Stabat Mater,’ Muti effect tells in Chicago Symphony, Chorus

Jun 27, 2018 – 3:27 pm
Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus undertake Rossini's "Stabat Mater" with soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, tenor Dmitry Korchak and bass-baritone Eric Owens. (© Todd Rosenberg)

Review: If there was a moment during the season-ending concert that summed up the singular achievement of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the long-term influence of Riccardo Muti, it came near the end of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” a Catholic hymn to Mary that pulls the listeners into the mother’s grief at the foot of the cross and offers transcendence. The three-line prayer “Quando corpus morietur” (“When my body dies, let me live in Paradise, too”) is so very human and humble that the listener might not notice how treacherous it is to sing. The Chicago Symphony Chorus imbued it with a powerful emotion that filled the hall, yet with sound so soft it barely hung on a thread.

The stars align – Muti, Ma, CSO – as visitors from U.S. orchestras catch a cosmic concert

Jun 17, 2018 – 11:35 pm
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Review: You could say the 600 representatives of symphony orchestras from around the country who heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with music director Riccardo Muti and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, were in the right place at the right time. If ever there was a musical nexus, this was one: the convergence of those particular performing forces and the work at hand, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, a sublime masterpiece captured at Orchestra Hall on June 14 in every dimension of its dark drama, searing introspection and virtuosic eloquence.

CSO violist Max Raimi steps out as composer; Muti leads orchestra, chorus in Schubert Mass

Mar 25, 2018 – 1:50 pm
055 featuredimage_mazraimi (Todd Rosenberg)

Review: A world premiere by Chicago Symphony violist-composer Max Raimi, who set to music the poetry of a 94-year-old Pulitzer Prize winning poet in the city’s midst, was part of a special showcase honoring the orchestra’s own: The Chicago Symphony Chorus, celebrating its 60th anniversary this season, sang a Schubert magnum opus not heard in Orchestra Hall since 1975.

Mozart & Haydn tumble through the orchestra in bubbly romp with Muti, Chicago Symphony

Mar 21, 2018 – 5:28 am
Mozart Haydn feature image sub

Review: As Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s irrepressibly grand 234-year-old “Linz” Symphony swept through the Chicago Symphony from stand to stand, at Orchestra Hall, one might have taken the music for yet another example of the brilliant young composer being inspired by Franz Joseph Haydn, his esteemed elder. But as music director Riccardo Muti and the CSO deftly demonstrated, the 24-year difference in their ages does not imply a one-way flow of influence from elder to younger. The influence worked both ways.

CSO premieres Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto, spotlighting veteran foursome of the orchestra

Feb 2, 2018 – 4:11 pm
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Review: On the one hand, Jennifer Higdon’s solidly crafted Low Brass Concerto, which received its world premiere Feb. 1 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, enjoyed artful framing by three brilliant pieces from by a wide range of top-flight composers from the past. On the other hand, well, see above. The premiere featured four veteran members of the CSO brass section.

Muti leads CSO, pianist Gerstein in eloquent Brahms and chamber-scaled rarity by Strauss

Nov 19, 2017 – 12:22 pm
11/16/17 10:44:13 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, Conductor 
Kirill Gerstei, piano


Puccini Preludio sinfonico
R. Strauss Suite from Le bourgeois gentilhomme
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1

©Todd Rosenberg Photography

Review: Any deeply satisfying concerto performance bespeaks a close collaboration between soloist and conductor, yet even by that measure the majestic and probing Brahms First Piano Concerto delivered by Kirill Gerstein with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 17 was a rare, one might say time-stopping, experience.

Muti and Chicago Symphony set the bar high for new season in stellar Bruckner, Schumann

Sep 30, 2017 – 9:14 am
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Review: I caught up belatedly with the Chicago Symphony’s season-opening program under music director Riccardo Muti – a spritz of modernism in Penderecki’s “The Awakening of Jacob,” soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s spell-binding flight through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Muti’s revelatory account of Schumann’s Second Symphony — then two nights later heard the program that continues through Oct. 1: the world premiere of CSO resident composer Elizabeth Ogonek’s alluring “All These Lighted Things” and perhaps the greatest performance of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony that I’ve witnessed in 50 years as a critic.

In a journey across Brahms’ symphonies, Muti found both lyric dramatist, master classicist

May 16, 2017 – 7:46 am
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Review: Riccardo Muti still has one program to go in this, his seventh season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We might think of the impending finale – a mixed bag of orchestral music, choruses and arias from Italian opera in concerts June 22-25 – as a grand encore to the conductor’s roundly rewarding season of appearances with the CSO. Or perhaps as a festive postlude to his splendid traversal of Brahms’ symphonies over the last two weeks.

Baton (and lantern) in hand, Muti commences rediscovery survey of the Brahms symphonies

May 9, 2017 – 1:52 pm
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Review: Ordinarily, the idea of hearing Brahms’ four ultra-familiar symphonies performed consecutively over two weekends might seem, well, unimaginative. Brahms in the care of CSO music director Riccardo Muti suddenly transforms the routine into a journey of discovery greatly to be anticipated. And illuminating it was when Muti led Brahms’ First and Second Symphonies on May 4 at Orchestra Hall to commence a cycle that winds up May 11-13 when the CSO turns to Symphonies 3 and 4.

In a many-splendored program, Muti and CSO match world premiere, Uchida’s Beethoven

Mar 20, 2017 – 5:48 am
3/16/17 8:35:06 PM -- Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti Conductor
Mitsuko Uchida piano

Rossini Overture to La scala di seta
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3
S. Adams many words of love

[World Premiere, CSO Commission]
 © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Review: With music director Riccardo Muti back on the podium, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra delivered a bravura world premiere with Samuel Adams’ “many words of love,” framed by an elegant and emotionally charged performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Mitsuko Uchida and a vivacious account of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony, which remarkably enough the CSO had not played since 2003.

CSO in Europe: Epic escalator, untested hall greet orchestra at Hamburg Elbphilharmonie

Jan 17, 2017 – 4:01 pm
1/15/17 8:39:07 PM -- The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti Music Director

2017 European Tour 

Bows after Don Juan, Op. 20

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Review: Some 600,000 of the curious, and proud, already have taken the long, long escalator ride from street level to the eighth-floor lobby of Hamburg’s brand-new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where the Chicago Symphony in concerts Jan. 14-15 became the first foreign orchestra to perform on its stage. Both the curiosity and the pride were understandable.

CSO and Muti turn spotlight on principal cello, and flash a thrilla on docket for European tour

Oct 17, 2016 – 5:05 pm
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Review: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s current series of concerts with music director Riccardo Muti spotlights one of its own — principal cellist John Sharp in an elegant and lyrical turn through the Schumann concerto. But the program also previews the CSO’s January tour of Europe, and the performance Oct. 14 no doubt anticipated the coming response abroad: The crowd went wild.

DiDonato, Muti conjure Martucci song cycle, then the CSO delivers a Beethoven thriller

Sep 30, 2016 – 8:16 pm
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Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti has long and eagerly shared his love for some 19th-century Italian composers who are otherwise slipping into history. For Giuseppe Martucci’s formidable song cycle “La canzone dei ricordi” (Song of Remembrance), Muti brought in another persuasive advocate, the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. An electrifying Beethoven Seventh Symphony lit up the concert’s second half.

To young lives at risk, Muti and 2 opera stars bring close encounter with voice in full glory

Sep 28, 2016 – 4:10 pm
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Report: Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was about to make her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut with music director Riccardo Muti in a rare Italian work, and bass-baritone Eric Owens, over at the Lyric Opera, was readying the role of Wotan, king of the gods in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, for the first time in his career. Yet these three internationally celebrated artists made time to perform for youths within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, where boys in conflict with the law, most in their mid to late teens, are held for an intensive period of education and intervention designed to set them on a safer course.

Riccardo Muti, CSO and Bruckner: The sequel delivers a radiant view of Seventh Symphony

Sep 25, 2016 – 1:49 pm
9/22/16 10:18:32 PM -- The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Riccardo Muti Conductor
Bruckner Symphony No. 7
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016

Review: Picking up right where they left off at the end of last season, with glorious Bruckner, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti opened their 2016-17 series Sept. 22 by illuminating the sonorous towers and spiritual depths of the Seventh Symphony. And after a drawn-out period in flux, the CSO finally has a settled on its quartet of solo winds.

Bruckner 9 was prelude of promise: Muti, CSO to open next season with Seventh Symphony

Jun 27, 2016 – 6:22 pm
6/23/16 9:02:36 PM --   The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Maestro Riccardo Muti, Conductor

Bruckner Symphony No. 9
Bruckner Te Deum

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Riccardo Muti conductor
Erin Wall soprano
Okka von der Damerau mezzo-soprano
Steve Davislim tenor
Eric Owens bass

Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe chorus director

   © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016

Review: When Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra open their 2016-17 season at Orchestra Hall in September, it’s going to feel very much like picking up where the current season ended, with one of the splendorous symphonies by the 19th-century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner. To have just heard the Ninth is to look forward to next season’s opener, Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, with electric anticipation.

Julia Fischer takes Beethoven Violin Concerto to rare heights with Chicago Symphony, Muti

Jun 20, 2016 – 2:36 pm
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Review: Julia Fischer’s exquisite performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Muti is one of the CSO’s don’t-miss concerts of this season. And happily, you have one more chance to hear it, on June 21 at Orchestra Hall.

Chicago Symphony unveils Fritz Reiner bust; honor overdue, says advocate Riccardo Muti

Jun 15, 2016 – 11:38 am
Feature image Reiner sculpture unveiling at CSO. (Todd Rosenberg)

Report: The burning gaze of Fritz Reiner, who presided as sixth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1953-62, is back in full daunting view at Symphony Center, where on June 14 the CSO unveiled a new bust of the conductor that will greet visitors henceforth in the center’s outer lobby.

CSO Chorus joins city salute to Shakespeare with tragedy, comedy from Berlioz and Verdi

Apr 6, 2016 – 10:26 pm
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Preview: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus help to observe the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April with performances of two major works under the baton of CSO music director Riccard Muti – Berlioz’s dramatic symphony “Roméo et Juliette” and a concert version of Verdi’s last opera, “Falstaff.” The demands the two works place on the chorus, says director Duain Wolfe, could hardly be more different.

To sub for ailing Muti, spry Russian Rozhdestvensky, 84, agrees to stick around

Feb 5, 2016 – 7:27 am
Conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky

News Release: CHICAGO — Distinguished Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who is currently in Chicago to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 & 15 this weekend February 5 & 6, has graciously agreed to remain with the Orchestra for an additional set of concerts on February 11, 12, 13 & 16.  Rozhdestvensky steps in for CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti, who had to withdraw from his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation.

Riccardo Muti, hip ailing, withdraws from February Chicago Symphony concerts

Feb 2, 2016 – 7:15 pm
Maestro Riccardo Muti shares a laugh with the orchestra during a January rehearsal in Taipei (Todd Rosenberg)

News Release: CHICAGO — CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti is unable to conduct his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation that was needed following a minor accident. The concert scheduled for February 19 at Holy Name Cathedral will be postponed with a new date to be announced. A guest conductor or conductors for the CSO’s performances February 11-20 will also be announced at a later date.

Mozart and Beethoven shine in hands of CSO; dust sticks to erstwhile premiere from archives

Oct 3, 2015 – 8:11 am
Riccardo Muti conducts Beethoven

Review: What was good was very good in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concert with music director Riccardo Muti on Oct. 1 at Orchestra Hall. Then came the program’s bizarre second half, which recalled the previous week’s fare and left one wondering just how weird – and musically marginal – the CSO’s 125th anniversary season will turn out to be.

In two iconic figures of classical music, Muti reveals more to treasure in concert with CSO

Mar 6, 2015 – 3:37 pm
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Review: Who knew that a big middle-period work by Beethoven and a Tchaikovsky symphony would add up to a completely new concert experience? But such was the exhilarating sum of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra program that paired Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti.

Muti advances campaign for Scriabin as CSO delivers many-splendored Second Symphony

Mar 1, 2015 – 10:26 pm
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Review: Riccardo Muti’s season of advocacy for the symphonies of Alexander Scriabin must be reckoned a blazing success, even with one work remaining for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director to conduct when he makes his final appearances of the season at Orchestra Hall in June. Scriabin’s Second Symphony, currently featured in CSO concerts that continue through March 3, makes the point of musical merit as well as that of historical neglect.

Balm for a winter weekend, Mozart’s Requiem casts warming glow in hands of Muti and CSO

Feb 21, 2015 – 11:16 am
Mozart, detail of plaster relief of wood engraving by Leonard Posch  (Wien Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Review: It was a sad time for Chicago’s musical community, which had lost two respected musicians within days of each other. By astonishing coincidence the scheduled program, dedicated to their memory, included the Requiem by Mozart, whose own life slipped away from him as he wrote it. A bit of the Lacrymosa is the last passage in Mozart’s own hand.

Tour is a tour is a tour? Not for CSO and Muti, bettering Paris-Vienna best at Carnegie Hall

Jan 31, 2015 – 11:20 am
Carnegie Hall at night (Jeff Goldberg, courtesy Carnegie Hall)

Review: Perhaps it’s simply a matter of time zones and surroundings, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing the same music it had performed in its recent visit to Paris and Vienna, delivered a knockout performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 30 that outshone its best in those European capitals.

21-year-old Atlanta Symphony bassoonist wins post as new principal with Chicago Symphony

Jan 22, 2015 – 3:33 pm
Kieth Buncke named principal bassoon of Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Report: Keith Buncke was still a Curtis Institute of Music student in February 2014 when he won the principal bassoon job, at 20, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Now 21, he has taken a second bounce, and it’s a big one – to become the new principal at the CSO.