The Last Sunday of Summer. The afternoon air tinged with damp. The hum of energy and anticipation, furtive glances of you’re-too-late mixed with smiles of recognition, smart phone connections, looking, eating, reading, drinking, talking, laughing, watching, and waiting…
The first concert under the baton of Grandissimo Maestro Riccardo Muti, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new music director.
Chicagoans cluster patiently. All ages—representing the city’s cultural and ethnic diversity— circle the Pritzker Pavilion lawn, already overflowing with people, solo, couples, friends, family, lawn chairs, blankets, picnics, wine.
Others in-line four-deep, wait for the gates to open for the first-come first-serve seats.
Wait for the debut of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra CSO in Millennium Park under the direction of Maestro Riccardo Muti at 5:30.
And some people think the only time Chicagoans wait in line is for the CUBS tickets or the BEARS.
Maestro Riccardo Muti, in a city that loves its music. Welcomed Sunday evening by the skyscrapers, orchestra, press and music lovers— Muti is revered and cherished as “the most deserving among the Lions of the podium.”
Adding to his mystique and magic is the awareness that comes with bragging rights; that he had turned down two offers from the New York Philharmonic. “The Chicago Symphony orchestra players’ enthusiasm and dedication fostered in a city known for its serious attitude about music and respect for hard work, “is a mindset that mirrors his own highly moral regard of his craft.”
Muti said, “I came to Chicago not to be a dictator (but) to work with the musicians, for the city, for the music, for all the people— not only those who need music as bread for their souls. Maybe I am too idealistic in what I believe. But I must try.”
The lawn was cordoned off by 4:00, not a single foot of extra space, people were turned away, no matter if they were meeting friends, too late. I know there were not enough seats to accommodate the throng in line, I hope they got a place on the lawn.
We salute you, dear director, Maestro Riccardo Muti, appreciative of your gifts, your free concert for the city, your point of view and your art.
We toast you with fireworks, bravos and an Austrian Punch, reminiscent of your other home outside of Salzburg.