Riccardo Muti reflects on his present and future musical life with the CSO

Music Director Riccardo Muti sits for an interview with arts journalist Dennis Polkow backstage at Orchestra Hall.

Todd Rosenberg Photography

In an all-new broadcast interview, Riccardo Muti reflects on his 13-season tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and his possible future with the CSO. 

“I will continue to conduct the orchestra that I love very much,” Muti said to veteran journalist and music critic Dennis Polkow, who conducted the interview, which aired on Feb. 19 as part of “The Arts Section” on WDCB-FM. “When you end as music director of an institution, it doesn’t mean you suddenly become a stranger. You’re still connected if your relationship has been with respect, with love.” 

After concluding his music directorship in June, Muti will open the CSO’s 2023-24 season in September with three programs that will include the world premiere of a work written for him and the CSO by Philip Glass and the annual Symphony Ball on Sept. 23. In addition, Muti will lead the CSO on a European tour in early 2024. 

Muti will continue to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic, which he has led every season since 1971, and continue “the pleasure of conducting orchestras and musicians that I respect and who respect me. I am not retiring. I have many projects. Until this moment, I am in very good health and feel very strong. 

“But I also want to enjoy my children, my grandchildren and all of my animals out in the country and enjoy a life that I couldn’t because I had to travel and devote myself to every aspect of being a music director. I’ve been a music director since I was 27 years old.” 

In addition to conducting as a “free bird,” as he calls it, in Chicago and elsewhere, Muti will continue to be involved with the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy and with the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which he founded in 2004. 

Muti’s winter CSO residency features performances Feb. 23-25 of the Schumann Violin Concerto with soloist Julia Fischer and the Tchaikovsky Manfred Symphony, followed by the second leg of a North American tour that resumes Feb. 26

Produced and engineered by Eric Arunas, the broadcast aired on WDCB-FM (90.9 Glen Ellyn/90.7 West Loop). The complete broadcast is available below via SoundCloud. Interview available courtesy of riccardomutimusic.com.