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Chicago in turmoil as Muti quits Asia tour

Riccardo Muti has pulled out of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s much-heralded tour of China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Having arrived in Chicago earlier this month with flu and flown back to Italy to recover, he has been found to be suffering with an inguinal hernia, which requires urgent surgical correction.

In a statement issued by the orchestra, Muti said: “I feel very sad, frustrated and upset to leave my wonderful musicians and audiences in Chicago and on this very important tour that I was expecting with great anticipation. I look forward to returning to Chicago in April when we can once again make beautiful music together.”

riccardo muti

A substitute conductor has been announced for most of the tour. Read on here.

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  1. Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:


    I have found this happens frequently among conductors, singers and to a much lesser extent with soloists. Just this last week Lisa Battiashivii bowed out from preforming the Tchaikovsky Violin D with the BSO (she has a back problem) under N.Y. Phil. conductor Alan Gilbert. Luckily Julian Rachlin stepped in to give a wonderful performance of the piece. I’m just an average concertgoer so I wouldn’t like to bring the wrath of the more knowledgeable down on my head, but it was the 5th time I have heard it here, and I thought he did a great job. I did note that the orchestra (especially the violins) showed great enthusiasm playing along. The audience loved it at brought him back onstage three times, maybe somewhat expected for this piece, but still it made my night!

    Any onions on Maazel stepping in? I have seen him a few times here in Boston, but as most of my interest is watching the orchestra members play, I don’t pay much attention to conductors unless the players start giving him puzzled looks

    • Paul says:

      “I don’t pay much attention to conductors unless the players start giving him puzzled looks”

      Paul – you’d make an excellent orchestral musician…

  2. Istvan Horthy says:

    Have you heard Maazel’s recent complete Bruckner symphonies, recorded with his Munich orchestra? It is superb and, by way of a bonus, it is exceptionally well recorded so that one gets a beautiful burnished, well-balanced sound with all the inner parts perfectly clear.

  3. Roderick Branch says:

    Turmoil? The substitution of Maazel for Muti was announced in the very same press release that disclosed Muti’s upcoming surgery and cancellation. That news was split into two posts here, apparently only so that the sensationalistic headline could be applied to the first. Et tu, Slipped Disc?

    • The hours before the announcement were chaotic, and the failure to cover Taiwan is quite serious.

      • Roderick Branch says:

        No doubt that is true. However, that scrambling was invisible to the press and the to the public–in Chicago, and certainly in the United Kingdom. The organization announced a solution simultaneously as it announced the problem, so it’s difficult to understand why that news had to be divided into two contemporaneous posts here. Honestly, this site is of immense value to the classical music community, which is the only reason it’s worthwhile pointing the discrepancy out.

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