Chicago Symphony Orchestra | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | Classical | Chicago Reader

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When: Sun., Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m. 2010

Riccardo Muti begins his tenure as the tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with their first CD together—a thrilling live recording of Verdi's Requiem made while he was music director designate in January 2009 and due next week via CSO Resound—and this free concert in Millennium Park. In June 2008, at the press conference to announce his appointment, Muti made it clear that he intends not only to make good music in the concert hall but also to "serve the community." Now 69, Muti has led nearly all the world's great orchestras—he's been a regular at the Salzburg Festival since 1971 as well—and his resumé includes terms as the principal conductor of legendary Milanese opera house La Scala (1987-2005), the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-'92), and London's Philharmonia Orchestra (1974-'82). He'll begin by showing his deep roots in Italian opera with Verdi's overture to La Forza del Destino. The program also includes Liszt's Les Preludes, the most popular of his symphonic poems (a form he invented); Tchaikovsky's lush, dramatic Romeo and Juliet, with its famous love theme; and Respighi's visually evocative Pines of Rome.

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