Muti maketh money

Riccardo Muti has just been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in Spain.

That’s on top of the Birgit Nilsson award a couple of months back.

Birgit left him a million bucks. The prince is only worth fifty-k in Euros.

Just about one Chicago concert fee.

I expect he’ll turn up for the ceremony but don’t ask him to conduct as well.

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  • Yes, this–the price of a jet-setting conductor–has been a sore spot in the musical world for a very long time and it has certainly had its own “trickle-down” effect, including a disconnect between music director and his/her “home” city as well as a general homogeneity of sound from ensembles on this side of the pond. I am a wind band conductor myself, who suffered quite serious “gastric distress” (as well as several other ailments) during the early autumn months. My own players and I could only joke that I was able to go on with 2-1/2 hour-long rehearsals (albeit, sometimes seated) while the high-priced Mr. Muti could not. If he is unwilling to conductor for a 50K price, I know many other talented conductors who would do a fine job for a fraction of the price. It all boils down to the question: “What’s in a name?” and here it seems that the name recognition is everything.

  • Conductors have been “jet-setting” for a very long time,even before the invention of jets.
    Orchestra seasons are so much longer today than in the past that it’s impossible for one conductor to be with an orchestra every week from September to June.
    There has been absolutely no “homogenization” of orchestral sound, and the notion that conductors of the past got a more “distinctive” sound out of their orchestras is a myth.
    It’s not quantity of time that matters between an orchestra and conductor,but QUALITY of time. Many famous conductors of the past did at least as much travelling around guest conducting as those of today.

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