Chicago Shimpo
CSO’s Muti Selected as a Recipient
Of Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Award

• Riccardo Muti, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (“CSO”), is among this year’s five recipients of Japan’s Praemium Imperiale Awards, in recognition of his long-time contributions to the promotion of arts and humanity through music.

• Every year, the Japan Art Association, founded in 1887, selects five distinguished artists from the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film for the award to recognize their worldwide achievements in and contributions to their art form.
• In addition to Muti, Pierre Alechinsky (painting), Fujiko Nakaya (sculpture), Christian de Portzamparc (architecture) and Catherine Deneuve (theatre/film) have been selected as 2018 recipients of the award.

• The Japan Art Association created the Praemium Imperiale Awards in 1988 in commemoration of the association’s 100th anniversary and its long-time Honorary Patron Prince Takamatsu, in the hope of promoting understanding between Japan and the rest of the world through arts.

• Before becoming the CSO’s 10th music director in 2010, Muti already had a distinguished career in the world of classical music, spanning over 40 years. A Naples, Italy native, Muti has led a multiple of prestigious orchestras across the world, including London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and received numerous honors and awards.
• His Japan debut was in 1975, when he performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then, he visited Japan many times. In spring 2016, he conducted the Tokyo Spring Festival’s opening concert to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Japan-Italy diplomatic relations, marking his 150th performance in Japan.
• In recognition of his long-time contributions to cultural exchange between Japan and Italy through music, Muti was awarded Japan’s prestigious Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star that year.

• Keiko Alexander, wife of CSO President Jeff Alexander, said Muti loves Japan and looks forward to visiting the country for the award presentation ceremony in October. Currently spending the off season in his home country, Muti lists Japan, after Italy, as the country he wants to live most, she added.

• Muti and the CSO will visit Japan again in early 2019 during their Asia Tour, with two performances scheduled in Tokyo and Osaka. In the same year, Muti will host his Italian Opera Academy in Japan to train young opera hopefuls.


Maestro Riccard Muti (L), Jeff Alexander (R), President of CSO, and his wife Keiko (R2)