Chicago to deliver Muti’s Beethoven 9th (and more) for free

Chicago to deliver Muti’s Beethoven 9th (and more) for free


norman lebrecht

September 10, 2014

Leaping into the current fray of to stream or not to stream, Riccardo Muti has nailed his colours to the mast.

Chicago have just announced:

muti blackhawks


Taping for Worldwide Streaming of Beethoven’s Ninth

The concert on Thursday, September 18, will be videotaped and made available, at a date to be announced, free, on demand at, at, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and on the websites of other media and music organizations around the world.

Other free goodies offered:

Free Concert for Chicago

Continuing a tradition that Muti began when he became music director in 2010—to offer a free CSO concert each year outside of Symphony Center—Muti and the Orchestra return for the third time to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. On Friday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m., the free Concert for Chicago features an all-Tchaikovsky program, including The Tempest, Op. 18, music from The Sleeping Beauty and Symphony No. 4.

In addition to the free Concert for Chicago, Muti will continue traditions he began in previous residencies for making classical music accessible to more people. As part of his longstanding commitment to perform for young people who are incarcerated, Muti will visit the Illinois Youth Center-Chicago with musicians from the CSO. Muti has visited similar facilities before; this is his first visit to this one.

Muti will also open a CSO rehearsal for no charge to select community groups and students by special invitation. Another rehearsal is open to the public: On Monday, September 29 at 7 p.m., Muti will lead a rehearsal of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a preprofessional training orchestra of young adult musicians that is part of the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. They will rehearse Liszt’s tone poem, Les préludes. Tickets are free but required, and a $2 per ticket service fee applies.

On Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m., Muti will conduct the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest in a rehearsal that is free and open to the public (tickets are not required) at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest. They will rehearse Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration. CSO’s Principal Trombone Jay Friedman is the ensemble’s music director.


  • Henrik says:

    Giving these productions away for free is counterproductive in the long run. The people of our times do not value anything that comes for free. They value what is rare and exclusive.
    The key to the kingdom is how to make people believing something is more than worth it’s price, not throwing “pearls to the swine”.

    What made classical music so valuable and well connected in the societies was the belief of the new rising bourgeoise middle class in the 19th century, that that exclusive music which was before limited to aristocratic circles was now attainable if one works hard on his education toward it.

    • David Meyer says:

      Speaking of education, your last paragraph deserves a severe ‘see me’ from the English teacher and a question mark from the History. The attitude displayed in the first paragraph towards taking music into young offenders’ institutions reflects all that’s bad about classical music audiences. And it’s a touch lacking in the human feeling department.

    • Nick says:

      Bravo Muti! And Bravo the CSO!

      If as Henrik suggests what we term classical music is to be forever restricted to the bourgeoisie middle class prepared to work hard to understand and appreciate it, then great music and great music making is indeed in for an early grave. Orchestras increasingly have to reach out more and more into their communities to truly become part of their entirety. You may disagree with some of the approach (visiting young people in prison, for example – which I do not, as I believe the power of music in such circumstances with Muti himself doing the introductions can have a powerful uplifting effect), but the CSO’s general approach is more than admirable.

  • David Meyer says:

    Bravo indeed. The news of this project is admirable and inspiring particularly when contrasted with the usual tales of financial woe and maestro walkouts. Muti is showing great enterprise when he could be resting on his laurels.

  • Milka says:

    When all else fails bring out the 9th . It has been dragged out for every so called meaningful event that it now
    barely means anything except as a
    phony feel good occasion,a feather
    in the conductor’s hat and an audience
    that responds in kind.. Muti is no dumb
    bunny ,he knows how to wow the great unwashed crowd and be remembered .Certainly a Bach or a
    a Mozart symphony ain’t gonna do it .

  • Roderick Branch says:

    Muti and the CSO nailed their colors to the live stream mast back in October 2013, when their Verdi Requiem, performed on the day of Verdi’s bicentennial, was simulcast (i.e., in real time) on Facebook and at An excellent way to bring classical music to wider audiences, in my mind.

    (As for Henrik and Milka, well, their comments speak for themselves.)

  • Elvira Silverman says:

    It is important every time to remember that music should be accessible to as many as possible.
    What if in this audience are some young people that are the potential great artists of tomorrow.
    We all start by getting exposed .
    Bravo for the initiative !!!!