Maestro Muti, who was seated with Lorenzo Ornaghi, the Italian Minister of Culture, during the evening, graciously donated to the evening's auction the baton he used when he conducted Otello by Giuseppe Verdi at Carnegie Hall in April 2012. It was sold for $3,000.
The Foundation was formed to promote the richness of Italian culture and cultural ties between Italy and the United States. Funds raised at the event will support the opening of the library of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York to the public, fund grants and awards offering young Italian artists the opportunity to work in New York, and to promote cultural initiatives for 2013, the year of Italian Culture in the U.S.
2013 has been named the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., and special events in New York City and Washington, DC, last week launched the celebratory year.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi officially opened the yearlong celebration of Italian culture in more than 40 U.S. cities with a rare display of Michelangelo's David-Apollo at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The year 2013 will see more than 180 events curated by the Italian embassy in Washington and by Italian consulates and cultural institutes in more than 40 U.S. cities. The Year of Italian Culture was arranged by Foreign Minister Terzi, in cooperation with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, to reinforce the strong and long-standing friendship between the U.S. and Italy. Throughout the year, tributes to renowned Italians, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, designers and artists of all kinds, will be awarded. Maestro Muti is the first to receive recognition in this celebratory year, in honor of his worldwide contributions to Italian culture and his unparalleled commitment to music making at the highest level.
Born in Naples, Italy, RICCARDO MUTI first came to the attention of critics and public in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, Muti was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, which became his first appearance in what is now a more than 40-year history of splendid collaboration with this glorious Austrian Festival. Muti has served as music director of several international institutions: Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Philadelphia Orchestra and Teatro alla Scala. In 2004, Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which consists of young musicians selected from all over Italy. Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted the world’s most important orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Bayerischer Rundfunk. He made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in July 1973 and began his tenure as the CSO’s tenth music director in September 2010. Subsequently, he won his first two Grammy awards for his recording of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the CSO and Chorus.
Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Riccardo Muti. He has received the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at Élysée Palace and was also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain. In 2011, he was awarded Spain’s Prince of Asturias Prize, and was named an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic and an honorary director for life at the Rome Opera; he is also the recipient of the 2011 Birgit Nilsson Prize. In May 2012, he was awarded the highest Papal honor: the Knight of the Grand Cross First Class of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the McKim Medal from the American Academy in Rome. In November 2012, he was awarded Italy’s Vittorio De Sica prize for his contributions to music.