Chicago Symphony Orchestra April 2011 Highlights with Maestro Riccardo Muti Back at the Helm.

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Italian Maestro Riccardo Muti during a press conference at the Salzburg Festival in 2009 in Salzburg. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Chicago, Thursday, March 31, 2011.  After a rocky start in the first year of his highly anticipated residency as CSO Music Director, Riccardo Muti has returned in good health and will be performing his beloved Verdi's Othello in April for CSO audiences before traveling to Carnegie Hall with the orchestra as part of their first New York tour in mid-April.

Riccardo Muti, widely known as one of today's foremost interpreters of
Verdi's work, has led numerous performances from the great
composer's catalogue in some of the world's most important venues,
including La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and
others. 

Muti will lead Verdi's penultimate operatic masterpiece, Otello, in a concert version with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, April 7; Saturday, April 9; and Tuesday, April 12, 2011. All performances begin at 7 p.m.  Joining Muti and the CSO are the Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Duain Wolfe, and the Chicago Children's Choir, under the direction of Josephine Lee. Tickets for the three Otello programs are $24 to $249.

In addition to Otello, Muti will lead another program on Friday, April 8, at 1:30 p.m., of Cherubini's Overture in G Major, a work by another of Maestro Muti's favorite Italian composers. Liszt's Les préludes follows, and the program concludes with Shostakovich's mighty Fifth Symphony.  Tickets for this program are $23 to $218.

Other April Highlights.

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Dianne Reeves. Photo credit: EyeShotJazz.

Dianne Reeves Jazz Program.
Grammy award-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves returns to Symphony Center to present a dynamic jazz program on Friday, April 15, 2011, at 8 p.m. as part of the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series.

Tickets: $25-$91

Count Basie Orchestra.
Last seen at Symphony Center in February 2007, the world-famous Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Dennis Mackrel, returns to Chicago as part of a double bill with the Marcus Roberts Trio on Friday April 22, 2011, at 8 p.m., as part of the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series.

Tickets: $25-$85

A Night of Bluegrass featuring Dr. Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys plus Cherryholmes.
Symphony Center brings the music of the rural southeast mountains to Chicago with a special combined debut performance by Dr. Ralph Stanley with his Clinch Mountain Boys, followed by the sensational family bluegrass band Cherryholmes on Saturday, April 16, 2011, at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $20-$70

Chicago Symphony Center.
The CSO is located at 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Phone: (312) 294 3000.

About Riccardo Muti.
Born in Naples, Italy, Muti first came to the attention of critics and public in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, Muti was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival; his association with the Vienna Philharmonic and the festival continues today. Muti has served as principal conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, chief conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and music director of the Teatro alla Scala. In 2006, he was appointed artistic director of Salzburg's Pentecost Festival.

Riccardo Muti has conducted the most prominent orchestras in the world, from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France. Maestro Muti made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in July 1973.

Muti and the CSO.
Muti was appointment to the CSO's as its tenth music director in May 2008. In September 2010, he assumed the post for a five-year contract. Maestro Muti and the CSO's first recording together--Verdi's Messa da Requiem--on the CSO Resound label was awarded two Grammy awards, marking Muti's first such honor.

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