Having been a C.S.O. subscriber and supporter for more than 30 years,
and being well acquainted with many of the orchestras members, some
very closely (including one on the search committee), the word from the
orchestra is that they are unanimously ecstatic about Muti's appointment.
Some things to consider:
1. The Riccardo Muti of today is not necessarily the same person who
conducted in Philadelphia 25 yeas ago.
2. Many people, including me think that the change in Phily from the
lush "Ormandy" sound was much needed, Today's orchestras need to be more
flexible and need to be able to adapt to a "composer's intent". Doesn't
it stand to reason that an orchestra should reflect what's on the score
and not imprint their own "sound" other then an accurate, informed
2. Of the 30 or so conductors who have been guest conducting the C.S.O
over the last 2 years, Muti was far and away the orchestra's favorite
and was absolutely at the top of the list as choice for Music Director.
3. A C.S.O player who is one of Muti's most outspoken and biggest
supporters was someone who played under him in Philadelphia.
4. A strictly personal observation: For the month that Muti conducted
the C.S.O. this season in Chicago and on-tour, the Orchestra played
(I.M.H.O.) better than it has since the peak of the Solti days.
5. In Chicago it's unheard of for the C.S.O members to all agree on
anything. The orchestra still argues about the last round of acoustic
changes to Symphony Center (1999) and still painfully argue for months
about new section player appointments. BUT, so far, every single member
I've spoken with is thrilled with Muti. When he conducted the orchestra
on-tour, it was an unprecedented "love-fest". It will be interesting
to see how long the honeymoon lasts, but so far it's off to a very good
(looking forward to a happy, contented C.S.O. in 2010)
Nicholas Yasillo, Director
Norton Building Concert Series, Lockport, IL
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