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Maestro Riccardo Muti
ConductorFrom the origins
Riccardo Muti was born in Naples where he studied piano at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella under Vincenzo Vitale, graduating with distinction. He was subsequently awarded a diploma in Composition and Conducting by the Conservatory “Giuseppe Verdi,” Milan, where he studied under the guidance of Bruno Bettinelli and Antonino Votto.
He first came to the attention of critics and public in 1967, when he was unanimously awarded first place by the prestigious jury of the “Guido Cantelli” competition for conductors in Milan. The following year he was appointed principal conductor of the “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino,” a position he maintained until 1980. In 1971 Muti was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, the first of many occasions, which led in 2001 to a celebration of thirty years of artistic collaboration with this glorious festival. In January 2006, he was appointed artistic director of Salzburg’s Pentecost Festival. During the 1970s, he was chief conductor of the London Philharmonia (1972 to 1982) succeeding Otto Klemperer. From 1980 to 1992, he inherited the position of Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra from Eugene Ormandy.
The Teatro alla Scala`s years
From 1986 to 2005, he was Music Director of the Teatro alla Scala and under his direction important projects were undertaken such as the Mozart-Da Ponte Trilogy and the Wagner Ring Cycle. Alongside the classics of the repertoire, he brought many less performed and neglected works to light. These include exquisite pieces from the eighteenth century Neapolitan school as well as operas by Gluck, Cherubini, Spontini and most recently by Poulenc, composer of “Les dialogues des Carmйlites.” This latter production earned Muti the prestigious “Abbiati” prize from the critics. The long period spent as musical director of the La Scala organization culminated on December 7, 2004, in the triumphal re-opening of the restored La Scala with Antonio Salieri’s “Europa riconosciuta,” originally commissioned for La Scala’s inaugural opening night in 1778.
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted most of the important orchestras in the world: from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France, as well as, naturally, the Vienna Philharmonic, an orchestra to which he is linked by particularly close and important ties, and with which he has appeared at the Salzburg Festival since 1971. When Muti was invited to conduct the orchestra in the concert celebrating 150 years of the Vienna Philharmonic, he was presented with the Golden Ring, an honor bestowed by the Orchestra as a sign of special appreciation and affection, awarded to only a select few conductors. In April 2003, the French national radio channel, France Musique, broadcast a “Journйe Riccardo Muti” consisting of 14 hours of his operatic and symphonic recordings made with all the orchestras he has conducted throughout his career. Additionally, on December 14 of the same year, he conducted the long-awaited opening concert of the newly renovated Opera House “La Fenice” in Venice.
A continuous commitment
In 2004 Muti founded the “Luigi Cherubini” Youth Orchestra, consisting of young musicians selected, by an international committee, from some 600 instrumentalists from all over Italy. Muti’s vast recording activities, already significant during the 1970s, have received recognition in the form of many prizes, and span from the classical symphonic and operatic repertory to contemporary works of the twentieth century. Riccardo Muti’s social and civic conscience as an artist is demonstrated by concerts in a number of places symbolising our troubled past and contemporary history, which he has conducted in the context of the productions put on as part of the Ravenna Festival’s “Le vie dell’Amicizia” (The Paths of Friendship) project. These include Sarajevo (1997), Beirut (1998), Jerusalem (1999), Moscow (2000), Yerevan and Istanbul (2001), New York (2002), Cairo (2003), Damascus (2004), El Diem, Tunisia (2005) with the La Scala Philharmonic and Chorus, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the “Musicians of Europe United,” a group made up of the top players of Europe’s major orchestras. Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Riccardo Muti over the course of his career. He has been made a “Cavaliere di Gran Croce” (Knight of the Great Cross) of the Italian Republic and has received the City of Milan’s “Gran Medaglia d’Oro,” as well as the “Verdienstkreuz” from the German Republic. He was awarded the Lйgion d’Honneur in France and made a Knight 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 he has been elected as an Honorary Member of the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle and the Wiener Staatsoper. Russian President Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship and the State of Israel has honoured him with the “Wolf” prize for the arts. He has received honorary degrees from many universities in Italy and abroad.
With the Vienna Philharmonic, Riccardo Muti celebrated the 250th birthday of Mozart on January 27, 2006, with a worldwide telecast of a concert from Salzburg. His most recent tour with the Vienna Philharmonic was a triumphant set of performances in US and Mexico in March 2006.
from official website
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Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
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