Muti: Chicago "musical judgement"

Ricardo Muti was a major influence on my education and young growth as a musician. My time at Westminster provided opportunities to sing with him on the podium. Memories from Pavarotti and Pagliacci, Carol Vaness and the Te Deum in Tosca, a Mozart Requiem with Simon Estes, that changed my life.., and Va Pensiero.. What can I say about the opportunity to sing on the stage of the Academy of music, to interact with Maestro Muti on campus at WCC in Princeton. I was awed by his presence and the power that emanated from his persona. Was he opinionated, sometimes arrogant, probably ego driven.. of course. He also delivered the goods.

I always wondered what he was like in private, how he might work with students 1x1, with soloists in private rehearsals. Alas, from my perch here in Richmond, I may not get much experience to "judge" him anew in Chicago.. no worries there. My opinion is firmly set. Passion, followed by Discipline.. then Application.. much of that comes to me, from the likes of Riccardo Muti and his time in Philadelphia. What a privilege to have learned what he may not even realized he was teaching..

Musicians should of course be judged by their music, but they should also be judged by how they build and support the musical communities around them. Elite, but not elitist.. should be the goal.

Muti's committment here to building community is impressive. I don't recollect stories about that in Philadelphia or at La Scala.. Did the communities flourish when he was in charge? I was fortunate, I don't really know about others in the Philladelphia area. This is a new Muti for me, and I am a huge fan of his passion, artistry and willingness to seek greatness..

It is not enough to be great... a musicians' art must be judged by their ability to encourage artistic sparks around them. Great musicians are like sparks and kindling to a flame. They start a fire, then encourage it to a mature, living thing. Finally, only masters are able to sustain that energy due to the community and support they have built.

Buon Fortuna Maestro.. Grazie!


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