Riccardo Muti reflects on Beethoven and Glass

Riccardo Muti returns to Orchestra Hall for a two-week residency in February.

© Todd Rosenberg Photography

In an all-new broadcast interview, Riccardo Muti talks about Beethoven as being “eternal” and conducting a Philip Glass symphony for the first time.

The interview with Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will air at 8 a.m. Feb. 13 as part of “The Arts Section” on WDCB-FM. Veteran journalist and music critic Dennis Polkow conducted the interview. 

For the Beethoven 250 celebration, Muti and the CSO began a Beethoven cycle that was interrupted by the pandemic. Performances resumed last fall, and this month will continue with concerts Feb. 24-27 of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. In the radio interview, Muti describes Beethoven as “eternal, like bread on the table.”

Muti's February residency also features Beethoven’s Overture to The Ruins of Athens and the composer's Fourth Piano Concerto with soloist Mitsuko Uchida in CSO concerts Feb. 17-19. Completing the program is Philip Glass’ large-scale Symphony No. 11, performed to mark the composer’s 85th birthday, which was Jan. 31.

Glass regularly attended CSO concerts when he was a student at the University of Chicago. “I didn’t know the piece when the symphony came into my hands,” said Muti in the interview. “I started to turn the pages and was impressed by the work.”

As part of the Glass birthday tribute, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association is co-sponsoring “Scored by Glass,” a four-movie series Feb. 11-20 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. 

In the wide-ranging radio interview, Muti also discusses his decision to remain as CSO music director for another year through 2022-23. 

Produced and engineered by Eric Arunas, the broadcast airs on WDCB-FM (90.9 Glen Ellyn/90.7 West Loop) or online. The complete broadcast is available on SoundCloud; click on the button below. 

This digital snapshot of Philip Glass was taken on his 85th birthday.