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Master Richard Muti to Conduct in September

Posted August. 16, 2004 22:08,   


World-class conductor, Italian Musical Director Ricardo Muti (63 years old, photo) with the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra is visiting again eight years after his visit to Korea. At age 27, he became the principal director and musical director of the Maggio Musicale Florentino and conducted the Philharmonic Orchestra in London and served with the Philadelphia Orchestra as its musical director. He has been the emperor of the world of conducting, achieving great success, and his rejection in 2002 of an offer from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was sensational.

Recently, we had a phone interview with Muti, who was in the music director room in the La Scala opera house in Milan, about his second visit to Korea scheduled for September 4 and 5.

―We are very glad to have you again in eight years. Do you agree with the audience’s comment that your conducting shows unique, passionate Italian color, which sounds plausible for you, coming from Naples?

“I know for a fact that I have appealed to my music fans with my passionate conducting. I am going to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony in Korea, but I get that a lot when I conduct Tchaikovsky’s and Verdi’s works. However, I am broadening my conducting field to elegant Italian classical music such as the composer Kerubini.”

―For most conductors, it would be a very prestigious offer to conduct the New York Philharmonic, but you didn’t accept their proposal in 2002. Can you tell us why you didn’t?

“I had had enough experience with American orchestras working as the musical director of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992. I didn’t feel a reason to start over again. Instead, I signed a contract with the New York Philharmonic to have four-week-long “Muti Series” concerts every year from 2006 to 2009 with the New York Philharmonic.”

―Would you explain to us the characteristics of the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, which is sometimes called, “Muti’s instrument?”

“I have been the musical director of La Scala since 1986, and I am very proud of La Scala as the best orchestra with a harmonious combination of refined timbre and balance, which reminds audiences of Austrian orchestras.”

―You have conducted the “Vienna New Year’s Concert” four times, which is exceptional for a musician who is not from Vienna and didn’t go to school there. How did you achieve such a glorious honor as a “stranger?”

“It is because the audiences in Vienna respond to my music. I have had a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic since my first conducting appearance there in 1972. In 2002, I conducted the Vienna Philharmonic’s New York concert celebrating the new millennium. I will conduct Mozart’s 250th birth year celebration concert with the Vienna Philharmonic in Salzburg in 2006.”

Muti and the La Scala Philharmonic will perform Rossini’s Guglielmo Tell (William Tell) prelude, the ballet scenes of Verdi’s opera, Macbeth, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony in their first show at 7 p.m. on September 4 at Deokyang Culture Hall, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do.

The following afternoon at 4 p.m., the orchestra will play Dvorjak’s Fifth Symphony and Brahms’ Symphony Second in Seoul Arts Center. Ticket prices vary from 50,000 to 300,000 won (September 4), and 100,000 to 300,000 won (September 5). For inquiries, call 02-749-1300.

Yoon-Jong Yoo gustav@donga.com