Absent from Chicago since February 2020 due to the pandemic, Riccardo Muti entered Orchestra Hall and began rehearsing Beethoven’s Symphony No.3, “Eroica”.
“It was a very, very emotional moment when I got on stage and stepped on the podium because the orchestra was gathered for the first time with its musical director in the concert hall,” Muti said during a telephone interview Thursday, two days after the first rehearsal and before the opening night of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra season. “We immediately played the ‘Eroica’, which I dedicated to the musicians of the orchestra and to all musicians around the world who have been separated and are suffering from the virus.”
Muti was scheduled to lead the show-jumping season opener on Thursday night, which included Joseph Bologne’s overture to “L’Amant anonymous” and Florence Price’s andante moderato.
Muti and the CSO have announced that he has extended his contract as music director for one year until the 2022-2023 season. The 80-year-old Italian became CSO’s musical director in 2010, succeeding Daniel Barenboim.
“From the first moment, I loved the orchestra. They love me, “he said.” For 12 years we have always made music with happiness and mutual respect. So it’s practically a second family, my musical family and the second family.
Muti had conducted in Europe with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which he took to Armenia. He conducted his Italian Opera Academy in Japan in May.
He told Chicago musicians he hoped “music will heal the pains of the world.”
“At this moment, we have realized that culture is much more important than we have always thought,” he said. “At this moment in a world full of tragedies, wars, children who die, people who have to leave their country, only the possibility of culture, of growing culture, of beauty, of harmony, of brotherhood, all the beautiful things that mankind seems to forget, can help and heal the world.
Muti will lead 10 weeks of concerts in Chicago in 2022-2023 and four weeks of touring, which will include a trip to China, Japan and Taiwan.
The CSO has said that Muti’s 2022-2023 season will include performances of Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis (Mass)” in June 2023 – a work he conducted last month with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Festival. of Salzburg – and the world premiere of a work commissioned by the OSC by Jessie Montgomery.