Italian maestro Riccardo Muti wins $1M Birgit Nilsson PrizeSTOCKHOLM - The Italian conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday was awarded the $1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize for his “extraordinary” contributions and influence in the world of music.
Riccardo Muti has also been conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Teatro alla Scala.
“Maestro Muti is being recognized for his extraordinary contributions in opera and concert, as well as his enormous influence in the music world both on and off the stage,” the jury said in the citation.
The jury pointed out that since 1997 Muti has conducted many concerts in locations “symbolizing the world’s troubled past and contemporary history,” including in the Balkans and the Middle East. In 2009, he led a free concert for survivors of the L’Aquila earthquake in Italy.
In 2004, he also founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra of young Italian musicians.
Muti, 69, is the second winner of the prize awarded by the Birgit Nilsson Foundation, which was established after the 2005 death of Nilsson, considered one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos.
The prize was first awarded in 2009 to Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, a laureate Nilsson had picked herself, but whose name was kept secret for nearly a decade before it was revealed.
Winners are chosen by the foundation and a jury of at least five members, which this year comprised the president of the Vienna Philharmonic, the co-director of the Bayreuth Festival, the managing director of the Malmo Opera, the general director of the Seattle Opera and an opera critic of the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph.
The decision to award Muti was unanimous, according to the foundation president and Nilsson’s close friend, Rutbert Reisch.
Reich said he did not believe Nilsson and Muti ever worked together, but that the two “had a lot of respect for each other’s work.”
He said he flew to Chicago himself in October to tell Muti of the decision.
“First it was total surprise and then obviously how honoured he felt to receive this prize. For a moment he was speechless,” Reich told reporters at the Royal Opera in the Swedish capital.
Muti, who did not attend the announcement in Stockholm, said in a statement that he was moved when he heard he had been chosen for the “distinguished” award.
“I was deeply touched by the jury’s accolade, all the more so given my profound admiration for this unique and extraordinary artist, both as an incomparable musician and as a great interpreter,” Muti said.
Muti will receive the prize in the presence of Sweden’s King XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia at the Royal Opera in Stockholm on Oct. 13.
지휘자 무티 ‘비르기트 닐슨 프라이즈’ 수상
미국 시카고 심포니 오케스트라의 사령탑을 맡고 있는 이탈리아 출신의 세계적인 지휘자 리카르도 무티가 상금 100만달러(약 11억4000만원)의 ‘비르기트 닐슨 프라이즈’ 수상자로 선정됐다.
스웨덴 태생의 소프라노 가수 비르기트 닐슨이 2005년 세상을 떠나기 전 제정한 이 상은 현재 활동 중인 성악가와 지휘자 가운데 가장 뛰어난 성취를 보인 인물에게 시상되며 클래식 음악계 최고의 상금을 수여한다.