On September 27, 2022, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association celebrates Riccardo Muti's 500th performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Since 1973, their relationship has flourished in memorable concerts throughout Chicago, across the country and around the world. Here is a list of highlights from Muti's extensive performance history with the CSO.
Concert No. 1 | July 25, 1973
Riccardo Muti makes his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival leading Rossini’s Overture to Semiramide, Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor (with Christoph Eschenbach as soloist) and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition.
Concert No. 4 | March 20, 1975
Muti makes his CSO subscription debut at Orchestra Hall conducting Vivaldi’s Concerto in A major for Strings and Continuo, Stravinsky’s Scherzo fantastique, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and the Orchestra’s first subscription concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony.
Concert No. 7 | September 14, 2007
After an absence of 32 years, Muti returns to the CSO podium for a month-long residency that includes two weeks of subscription concerts and the Opening Night Gala in Chicago, followed by a seven-city, nine-concert European tour.
Concert No. 22 | January 15, 2009
Muti makes his first appearance as music director designate conducting Verdi’s Requiem. “From the moment he walked out onto the stage . . . Muti showed us the summary of nearly every possible positive quality a great conductor can possess,” read Andrew Patner’s review in the Chicago Sun-Times. On February 13, 2011, the CSO Resound recording of the performance receives Grammy awards for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.
Concert No. 33 | September 19, 2010
Muti begins his tenure as the CSO’s tenth music director — inaugurating a new tradition of annual, free community concerts —with a performance in Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion before a crowd of more than 25,000.
Concert No. 64 | September 22, 2011
Muti opens the 2011/12 season leading a free community concert at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, attended by a crowd of nearly 6,000 people.
Concert No. 158 | October 10, 2013
To celebrate Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthday, Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and soloists in Verdi’s Requiem at Orchestra Hall. The concert concludes a celebration comprised of several performances of Verdi’s music, including concert performances of Macbeth.
Concert No. 217 | February 1, 2015
Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and soloists in Prokofiev’s cantata Alexander Nevsky as well as Scriabin’s Symphony no. 1 at Carnegie Hall. The concert was the grand finale of a three-concert residency amid a snowstorm that could not keep fans away.
Concert No. 267 | April 21, 2016
Muti conducts the first of three concert performances of Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff, with Ambrogio Maestri in the title role. The headline in the New York Times proclaims Muti, “The King of Verdi.”
Concert No. 295 | January 21, 2017
Muti and the CSO make a highly anticipated return to Teatro alla Scala, where Muti was music director from 1986 to 2005. The tour also includes performances in Aalborg, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt, Hamburg (as the first visiting orchestra to perform at the new Elbphilharmonie), Paris, and Vienna, where Muti and the CSO have appeared numerous times at the Musikverein, including a performance of Verdi’s Requiem as part of the hall’s 150th-anniversary celebrations in 2020.
Concert No. 379 | September 21, 2018
Muti and the CSO’s performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar) is attended by his widow, Irina Shostakovich, who later participates in a post-concert discussion with Muti. The performance of Babi Yar is later released on the CSO Resound label.
Concert No. 459 | September 23, 2021
Muti conducts his first performance with the CSO since February 2020, marking the end of a long physical separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program included Bologne’s Overture to L’Amant anonyme, Price’s Andante moderato and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).
Concert No. 486 | April 28, 2022
Riccardo Muti conducts the world premiere of Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery’s Hymn for Everyone, a CSO commission and the 15th world premiere conducted by Muti with CSO.