Muti requires surgery for hernia, will miss CSO’s Asian tour

Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 9:30 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Riccardo Muti has canceled his appearances leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on its upcoming six-city Asian tour, due to an inguinal hernia.

That follows the 71-year-old Italian conductor dropping out of his two weeks of CSO January appearances because of the flu.

Lorin Maazel is slated to replace Muti for the tour dates in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. A conductor for the opening Taiwan dates will be announced on Friday.

The CSO said that the hernia was diagnosed by Muti’s doctor in Italy after the conductor returned home last week when he was stricken with the flu. His doctors stated that Muti’s condition required surgical treatment “as soon as possible” and that it was not possible to delay the surgery until after the tour had ended.

“I feel very sad, frustrated and upset to leave my wonderful musicians and audiences in Chicago and on this very important tour that I was expecting with great anticipation,” said the CSO’s music director in a statement released from Italy. “I look forward to returning to Chicago in April when we can once again make beautiful music together.”

“The thoughts and good wishes of the entire CSO family are with our beloved Maestro Muti as he undergoes surgery,” said CSO Association president Deborah F. Rutter in a statement released by the orchestra. “Naturally, we are disappointed that he was not able to lead the Orchestra here in Chicago and will be unable to join us on our tour beginning next week.

“However, we completely understand that this is a health situation beyond his control and eagerly await his return to Chicago in April. The CSO family is deeply grateful to Maestro Maazel for assisting the CSO on this tour.”

The news was released to the press at the conclusion of the CSO’s Mozart-Brahms program Thursday night led by Edo de Waart who was replacing the ailing Muti. Chicago Classical Review had broken the story early Thursday afternoon but at the CSO’s request had taken down an early posted version of the story until all the tour presenters could be notified and Maazel’s contract finalized.

The programs for the tour have been amended with Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 on one program, and Verdi’s Overture to I vespri siciliani, Mendelssohn’s Italian symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 on the other.

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