Riccardo Muti dedicates Beethoven 9th to people of Ukraine

Riccardo Muti dedicates Beethoven 9th to people of Ukraine


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2022

The Chicago Symphony music director preceded his concert with a statement on Ukraine.

Among other things he said: ‘We make music that means joy and peace. But … we will think in this moment that joy without peace cannot exist..


  • Player says:


    • Lothario Hunter says:

      Oh yes, if you get lost in a forest, Muti is the leader to take you in and out of it. Siberian forests, or jungles, it does not matter … he knows how to find his way!

    • Paracelsus says:

      A leader?

      A leader would have used the leader pulpit to dress down Putin and his rogue regime. Not a leader in my book.

    • Chilynne says:

      Like Multi or loathe him, his comment was a propos. I don’t understand the many dislikes for Player’s comment. Our focus may be music, but we’re human and are witnessing a superpower inflicting very great harm on a small country and its people over “threats”.

      • Monica J says:

        We attended the CSO concert last night and Muti used the moment before the concert to send a message to Putin. I don’t remember the exact wording but he asked Putin to remove his bloody tanks from Ukraine and recognize the integrity of the human lives he is destroying. I admire Muti tremendously and it was a magnificent concert. 6 standing ovations! I am grateful to have been there!

        • Jobim75 says:

          From warzone of Chicago, between tiramisu and grappa, so brave of him….he should get a medal for audacity of his speech. And I think Putin will reconsider after such strong words. At least the maestro could fall asleep with consciousness of accomplished duty. 1 or 2 pillows maestro?

    • MB says:

      Muti very recently received a prestigious award from the Russian Academy for the Arts. He hasn’t returned it. Do you think he will? That’s what real leaders would do. He won’t

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    According to Chicago observers, “the maestro said the stage where they play is not a venue for political grandstanding”. This statement sounds eerily similar to the Vienna Philharmonic’s attitude.

    Will the Grand Maestro and his brainchild Ravenna Festival solemnly renounce Gergiev? Or will they bestow him again the great honor of letting him conduct the Cherubinis? Will Muti have cozy dinners with Gergiev in Ravenna again?

    Read the tea leaves below for solid hints:



  • Chicagorat says:

    Note that, unlike the Berlin Philharmonic statement, you will be hard pressed to find in this statement by the Bill Clinton of classical music any condemnation of Putin or Russia … he does not want to hurt the feelings of his buddy Gergiev. He does not want to condemn Putin. Why?

    This 9th was one to remember (not). Here are some excerpts from the Chicago Classical Review:

    “While the Ninth is abundantly familiar, it does not play itself, and here as throughout there were isolated moments when the maestro was a bit casual where more incisive leadership was called for. The resulting minor ensemble issues though were an afterthought …”

    “The opening of the Molto vivace was pristine and almost cackled, though as the movement progressed it settled into a generalized tempo, losing the operative “molto.” This became clear when the thematic material would return in need of a jolt.

    While the variations of the benedictory Adagio did evolve organically, Muti’s rendition felt on the surface, not plumbing the deeply inward meditative qualities of this music. Nonetheless, the musicians’ playing was exquisite, particularly that of the principal winds.”

    This time, they cannot blame Larry Johnson. Another night in Chicago, with Muti and unrecognizable Beethoven.

    • steve says:

      maybe you should pay some attention, as larry johnson didn’t even write the review you cite lol. and FYI, muti gave a direct condemnation of putin at last night’s concert.

      • Chicagorat says:

        Steve, again you why are you so slow on the uptake. That is my point, Larry Johnson did not write this review, so they can’t blame him this time. You follow?

        And no, he didn’t mention Putin or Russia.

    • Max Raimi says:

      Stop the presses! Chicagorat doesn’t like Muti–and found a critic who (sort of) agrees with him! Shocking!
      Shocking, I tell you! ***yawn***.
      I played the performance. You can like it or hate it (I quite liked it), but the adjective “unrecognizable” is preposterous.

  • Nik_f says:

    Bravo maestro!!!!

  • Italian American says:


  • Peter Borich says:


  • Frank Flambeau says:

    Muti is polishing his statues. Good for him.

  • Midwestern Violin says:

    Behind appearances, a very unethical man for those of us who have eyes to see what’s going on. Damages the institution

    • Luca says:

      I’d be interested to know why you think maestro Muti “unethical”.

    • steve says:

      and so why don’t you do anything about it? cause then aren’t you an enabler if you see what’s going on? it boggles my mind to read stupid comments like this.

      • CSOA Insider says:

        Because it’s not her job? Because it’s Alexander’s and the Board’s job, who are failing in their fiduciary responsibilities? Or do we seriously believe that ‘we-know-who’ would allow something like this to take place at Northern Trust?

    • Chicagorat says:

      The understatement of the century.

    • Other violin says:

      I think if you ask some of our great male colleagues, even those in prominent chairs, they would find it not only ethical but heroic. Almost like a right. Some men, outside of the house, are homunculi.


    BRAVO, Maestro! ♥

  • DaveT says:

    Stand with Ukraine, in every corner.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Bravo, maestro! Mille grazie!

  • Piano Lover says:

    Will it help restore peace???
    BArenboim tried it in many similar ways with Palestinian and Isarel…
    What does he think of that???

  • Kathleen E King says:

    YES! Thank you, Maestro. I remember when the Berlin Wall fell to these same notes. NOW we all have to unite and prevent it being rebuilt.

  • Beethoven was deaf when he composed the Ninth Symphony, a work commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London. The unforgettable theme from the last movement repeatedly states the note sequence “D-E-A-F#.” It is extraordinary that Beethoven transformed his worst malady into his greatest melody.


  • Aurelia Thompson says:

    Good for Muti. Bravo.

  • Luke Lorry says:

    Oh lord, definitely the world could not keep going around without those holier than thou hypocrites à lá Lothario, left alone even by his lord Mandrakio, probably too ashamed. Of course he is asking for the repudiation of Gergiev. I am sure he was coherently shouting from the roof for all the world to repudiate American conductors after the invasion of Iraq