Muti on the role of orchestras in society

Posted on: March 26, 2014

In Wednesday’s (3/25) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “It’s no secret by now that Riccardo Muti is a man of passionate convictions, especially when it comes to speaking out about the central importance of music to a civilized society. It’s a trope central to the Italian maestro’s very soul as a world-famous musician who bestrides several nations and several cultures. It has been nearly a month since the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director, 72, signed a new contract extending his CSO tenure through August 2020.… ‘I am very worried about the future,’ the Italian maestro [said]. ‘Orchestras everywhere are facing difficulties because our elected officials don’t give enough importance to culture.’ It’s absolutely vital that American public and private schools create in young children an abiding need for the spiritual nourishment that the arts uniquely can provide, Muti said. ‘If you instill that sense of importance in children as an integral part of their schooling, they will grow up to need culture as an everyday essential, like bread. Then the problem of orchestras, theaters, museums and ballet companies struggling for survival will end.’ An oversimplification, perhaps, but Muti’s observations about the essential role the arts and culture must play in any civilized society are to be taken seriously.”

Posted March 26, 2014