This weekend marks the beginning of the end of Maestro Riccardo Muti’s tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
WTTW News visited Symphony Center Wednesday to hear him lead the orchestra in a rousing rehearsal of works by Tchaikovsky. Arts critic Hedy Weiss spoke with Muti about his time in Chicago.
When asked by Weiss how he wanted to be remembered in Chicago, Muti got philosophical.
“There are many possibilities – the possibility that they will forget me, the possibility that they will remember me in a bad way, and that they will remember me in a good way,” he said. “I don’t know. I have been in Chicago happy with my orchestra, not my property, but my musicians. I am a musician among them.”
He also credited the work of his musicians.
“We never had not even one minute of friction or disagreement, and so we had a wonderful time onstage, great seriousness,” he said. “The orchestra is a great orchestra. When I took the orchestra it was a great orchestra. Fritz Reiner [CSO Music Director 1953–1963] made this a great orchestra … I am an old-fashioned music director. I think that a music director should be not only the music director but also like a father or a brother. In my case a grandfather of the musicians.”
Muti’s farewell season begins Thursday and continues through this weekend with music by Tchaikovsky, Brahms and others – and continues into next month.