About Riccardo Muti (www.RiccardoMutiMusic.com)
Riccardo Muti, born in Naples, Italy, is one of the preeminent conductors of our day. In 2010, when he became the tenth music director of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), he had more than forty years of experience at the helm of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence (1968-80); the Philharmonia Orchestra in London (1972-82); the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-1992); and Teatro alla Scala in Milan (1986-2005).
He continues to be in demand as a guest conductor for other great orchestras and opera houses: the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and many others. He is an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic, which gave him its Golden Ring as a special sign of esteem and affection. He is an honorary member of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society of the Friends of Music) and is also honorary director for life of the Rome Opera.
Muti has received innumerable honors from Italy, the United States, France, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Israel, Spain, Russia, Sweden, and the Vatican as well as more than 20 honorary degrees from universities around the world. Passionate about teaching young musicians, Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in 2004. Through Le vie dell’Amicizia (The Paths of Friendship), a project of the Ravenna Festival in Italy, he has conducted in many of the world’s most troubled areas in order to bring attention to and advocate for civic and social issues. In Chicago and around the globe, Muti demonstrates his strong commitment to sharing classical music broadly by regularly offering free concerts and rehearsals to the public and by performing in schools, prisons, and other community venues.
Riccardo Muti’s vast catalog of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, ranges from the traditional symphonic and operatic repertoires to contemporary works. He also has written two books, “Verdi, l’italiano” (published in Italian and German) and “Riccardo Muti: An Autobiography: First the Music, Then the Words,” which has been published in several languages.
About the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (cso.org)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors of our day. The venerable Pierre Boulez is the CSO’s Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus; the celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant. Mason Bates and Anna Clyne are the CSO’s Mead Composers-in-Residence. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Its music director since 2010 is Riccardo Muti, one of the preeminent conductors of our day. Pierre Boulez is the CSO’s Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus; Yo-Yo Ma is the CSO’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant. Mason Bates and Anna Clyne are the CSO’s Mead Composers-in-Residence.
The musicians of the CSO annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in downtown Chicago and, in the summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. The CSO frequently tours internationally and occasionally performs in other parts of the U.S. Since its founding in 1891, the Orchestra has made 57 international tours, visiting 28 countries on five continents. At home and on tour, tickets are always in high demand and frequently sold out.
People around the globe enjoy the extraordinary sounds of the Orchestra through broadcasts and webcasts of the weekly CSO Radio program and through CSO Resound, the CSO’s own record label. Recordings by the CSO have won 62 Grammy Awards®.
The parent organization for the CSO is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA). It also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus, directed by Duain Wolfe, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a pre-professional ensemble conducted by Cliff Colnot. Through a series called Symphony Center Presents, the CSOA brings internationally known guest artists and ensembles from a variety of musical genres—classical, jazz, pop, world, and contemporary—to Chicago.
The CSOA’s Institute for Learning, Access, and Training offers a variety of youth, community, and education programs that engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages, incomes and backgrounds. Through the programs of the Institute as well as many other activities, including a free annual CSO concert, the CSOA promotes the concept of Citizen Musicianship: using the power of music to contribute to our culture, our communities and the lives of others.
A nonprofit organization, the CSOA is governed by a voluntary board of trustees and supported by tens of thousands of other volunteers, patrons and corporate, foundation and individual donors. Deborah F. Rutter, a highly regarded arts executive, is president of the CSOA.
About Mitsuko Uchida (www.mitsukouchida.com)
Mitsuko Uchida is renowned for her interpretations of Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven, both in the concert hall and on CD, but she has also illuminated the music of Berg, Schoenberg, Webern and Boulez for a new generation of listeners. Her recording of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra won four awards, including The Gramophone Award for Best Concerto. Amongst many current projects, Uchida has recently been recording a selection of Mozart’s Piano Concerti with the Cleveland Orchestra, directing from the piano: all of the discs in this series have received critical acclaim and one won a Grammy Award in 2011. Highlights this season include performances with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle, Cleveland Orchestra and Leon Fleisher, Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Mariss Jansons, London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski, and Tonhalle Orchestra with David Zinman. She will undertake a recital tour, with venues including Paris’ Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Vienna’s Musikverein, Chicago’s Symphony Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall; and a tour of Japan.
Mitsuko Uchida records exclusively for Decca and her recordings include the complete Mozart piano sonatas and piano concerti; the complete Schubert piano sonatas; Debussy’s Etudes; the five Beethoven piano concerti with Kurt Sanderling; Mozart Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Mark Steinberg; Die Schöne Müllerin with Ian Bostridge for EMI; the final five Beethoven piano sonatas; and the 2008 recording of Berg’s Chamber Concerto with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Pierre Boulez and Christian Tetzlaff. Uchida’s most recent releases are of Mozart’s concerti K. 488 and K. 491, a second disc of K. 466 and K. 595, and a third disc of K. 271 and K. 467, all with Uchida directing the Cleveland Orchestra from the piano; and Schumann’s solo piano music. Mitsuko Uchida has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to aiding the development of young musicians and is a trustee of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. She is also Director of the Marlboro Music Festival. In May 2012 she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal. In June 2009 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
About John Sharp
John Sharp was appointed principal cello of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 1986/87 season by Sir Georg Solti. He was, at twenty-seven, among the youngest players ever in a CSO principal chair. Prior to his Chicago appointment, Sharp was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony (1983–86) and the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider.
Sharp has been a featured soloist for the CSO’s recording of Strauss’s Don Quixote, in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim, and in Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich. He has performed in chamber music concerts across the nation, including appearances at the Marlboro Music Festival and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
A native of Waco, Texas, Sharp began playing cello in school at the age of ten and took his first private lessons at thirteen with Lev Aronson. Following a year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he enrolled at the Juilliard School in New York, where he earned a master’s degree. While there, he studied with Lynn Harrell and appeared as soloist twice with Juilliard orchestras, including the New York premiere of Rorem’s Remembering Tommy. In 1986, he won third prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
A professor of cello at Roosevelt University, John Sharp also coaches the cello section of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He plays a rare cello made by Joseph Guarnerius in 1694.