Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of today's leading
orchestras. In the 2010-2011 season-the orchestra's 120th-Riccardo Muti began his tenure as
the CSO's 10th music director.
Throughout its history, the CSO has enjoyed leadership from an illustrious list of music
directors, beginning with Theodore Thomas, who founded the orchestra in 1891, followed by
Frederick Stock, Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean
Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim. From 2006 to 2010, Bernard Haitink led the
orchestra as principal conductor, the first in CSO history. Pierre Boulez, who was
appointed principal guest conductor in 1995, has served as the Helen Regenstein Conductor
Emeritus since 2006.
The CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at Symphony Center and at the Ravinia
Festival, where it is in residence each summer. The ensemble has embarked on 38 overseas
tours since Sir Georg Solti led the first European tour in 1971, most recently visiting
Italy and Russia in spring 2012, making that trip the 29th tour to Europe and second to
Russia. The CSO has traveled to the Far East six times, as well as once each to Australia
and South America.
Recording has been a significant part of the CSO's history since 1916, and in 2007 the
orchestra launched its own record label, CSO Resound. CSO recordings have earned 62 Grammy
Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, most recently in 2011 for
Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance for Verdi's Requiem, conducted by Riccardo
In 2007, the CSO returned to the national airwaves with its self-produced weekly broadcast
series, which is syndicated to more than 300 markets nationwide on the WFMT Radio Network
as well as on cso.org. Visit cso.org for more information.
Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti first came to the attention of critics and the public
in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, Mr.
Muti was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, the first of
many occasions which led to the celebration of 40 years of splendid collaboration with this
glorious Austrian festival. Mr. Muti has served as music director of international
institutions that include the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Philharmonia Orchestra of London,
The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Teatro alla Scala. In 2004, Mr. Muti founded the Luigi
Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which consists of young musicians selected from throughout
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted the world's most
important orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He made
his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in July 1973, and
began his tenure as the CSO's 10th music director in September 2010. He won his first two
Grammy Awards for his recording of Verdi's Messa da Requiem with the CSO and
Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Mr. Muti. He received the decoration of Officer
of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at
the Élysée Palace, and was also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire
by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain. In 2011, he was awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize,
and was named an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and an honorary
director for life at the Rome Opera; he is also the recipient of the 2011 Birgit Nilsson
Prize. In May 2012, he was awarded the highest papal honor: the Knight of the Grand Cross
First Class of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the
McKim Medal from the American Academy in Rome.