Born 28th of July 1941 in Naples, Riccardo Muti was infused with a love of music from an early age by his mother, a professional singer, as well as his amateur singer father.
Muti studied studied piano at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella and went on to earn a diploma in Composition and Conducting by the Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi in Milan.
Muti has since lead orchestras in Milan, Berlin, Vienna, and Philadelphia and is currently the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The conductor will celebrate his birthday in Salzburg, where he has lead the prestigious Salzburg Festival for the last 40 years. Since 1971, Muti has conducted the festival for every year bar one, but he announced on Wednesday that this would be his final appearance.
“I will only do operas two times a year, one in Rome and one opera concert with my orchestra in Chicago,” he explained.
Dismissing a fall from the podium in Chicago that put him in the hospital for weeks, Muti explained that he does not feel his 70 years.
An outspoken critic of cuts to culture funding, Muti has long defended his beloved Italian heritage. On the cusp of his 70th birthday, Riccardo Muti stated that Italy must pursue policies to preserve art and music education for young people.
“Italy must get back to being proactive about culture,” declared Muti. “Italy, in the world imagination, is one of the greatest painters and greatest musicians. The country must turn the page and build a new generation.”