Muti takes Chicago players to jail

We hear that Riccardo Muti yesterday joined Joyce DiDonato and two Chicago Symphony players, clarinet John Yeh and principal percussion Cynthia Yeh, for a concert at a juvenile correctional facility.

Muti played piano for DiDonato in some Mozart arias. “Mozart did not have an easy life,’ he told the inmates, ‘he was always losing jobs to people of inferior talent. Remember that. Just because someone gets a position and you don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person is the best or better than you.’

photo and quotes: Dennis Polkow

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  • Poor choice of analogy. After all, to put it in context, these kids will very likely face a job market with doors shut to them for myriad obvious reasons.

    • True, but at least they’re making an effort to bring some music to their lives. I applaud them for it. If I were a young male in Juvi’, I’d probably dig the percussionist.

  • All the maestros are becoming kind and cuddly. I am beginning to miss the scary maestros of the past, like Mahler, Toscanini and Reiner.

  • Indeed, the negatives are alas undoubtedly all too true – but there’s something warming about the effort – and heaven knows, none of these artists need bother!

  • True – – but they still got the gig and Mozart died penniless. I think a better message would have been, you not only need to be very good at what you do, but you also need to be able to navigate the many personality types that will inevitably be present in any endeavor.

  • That’s nice. It happens out here too. The Marin Symphony routinely plays San Quentin. And why not. We incarcerate 2% of the people in this bloody country, millions for victimless crimes. They probably deserve the gift of great music as much as anyone.

    • No crime is “victimless”. People who make statements like that usually mean they don’t care about the victims.

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