Muti: believe the hype

A week ago or so, when MTV's Video Music Awards were desperately seeking attention, a friend of mine asked: "Is Riccardo Muti more like Kanye West or like Taylor Swift."

He went on: "You know, Kanye is a talented artist who has worked hard to the fame he enjoys (and enjoys it all too much), whereas Taylor is a pretty-little-thing, popular as a result of careful engineering and grooming."
Regardless of accuracy, I liked the metaphor.
I would like to believe that people in the Classical music world don't make decisions based on hype (as much) and that the audience is, in general, better informed.  Whether or not most Chicagoans can hear the difference between Muti and Carlos Kalmar, they have sure learned how to sound informed.
Pop music is almost all hype or marketability (potential hype).  Hype is achieved first through image, of which the music is a loose translation.
And so while there is a lot of hype surrounding Muti in Chicago right now, this is not the reason he is here.  He's not even the hippest, most-hyped conductor in the world.
So if I had to choose, given the options, Muti is Kanye West.  He makes his own hype.

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