In Sunday’s (9/19) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “Chicago likes its music directors gifted, famous, charismatic, larger than life. We appreciate if these podium wizards bring with them impeccable credentials and fancy European pedigrees. And we admire them all the more when they insist they are one of us. In Riccardo Muti we have all that, and potentially a great deal more. This week, the acclaimed Neapolitan maestro officially takes up the baton as the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, directing a free concert Sunday at Millennium Park before leading his first ‘official’ subscription concerts later in the week. … Besides being a man of immense charm and intelligence, he commands one of the most articulate batons in the business, a firm but never straitjacketed control that enables him to draw exquisitely refined playing from orchestras. … Muti said he wants to ‘make the great Chicago Symphony even more flexible, playing music of all periods’—not with a one-size-fits-all sound, but with the timbre, phrasing and close attention to style that make Mozart sound like Mozart, Bruckner like Bruckner and so forth. He’s also committed to the nonmusical responsibilities of the job, keen to get to know the city and its residents better.”

Posted September 21, 2010