Tribune photo by Chris Walker
June 2, 2008
It speaks volumes of the impact Riccardo Muti had on the city in 2010 the year he made his official debut as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that his absence generated at least as much attention as his presence.
In fact, it's safe to say no classical musician dominated the local cultural scene the way the Italian maestro did this year. He did so, of course, through the strength and eloquence of his performances. By that, I mean those performances Muti was able to fulfill before extreme exhaustion forced the 69-year-old conductor to flee Chicago in early October for a month's rest under the eyes of his trusted physicians back home in Milan.
But he also loomed mightily over the city's arts life through his extraordinary powers of persuasion. Muti has the singular ability to pull people of every stripe into his vision of how music can change the lives of the young and old, and make them better citizens of a more enlightened society. -- John von Rhein