CSO's Muti to miss remaining winter dates

Riccardo Muti

Riccardo Muti (Todd Rosenberg Photography / January 9, 2013)

Chicago winters have proved to be singularly unlucky for Riccardo Muti.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director has canceled the remainder of his scheduled appearances with the orchestra through January while he continues to battle a flu bug.

The CSO subscription concerts affected are evening performances Jan. 17 and 19, and a matinee concert Jan. 18, all at Symphony Center. Dutch conductor Edo de Waart, who is replacing the indisposed Muti on this week’s subscription programs, has agreed to take over next week’s concerts as well.

Brahms’ Fourth Symphony will remain on the program as scheduled, but replacing the announced Stravinsky and Busoni works will be Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony.

A CSO spokeswoman, Rachelle Roe, said Muti left Chicago Tuesday evening for his home in Italy to continue his recuperation.

Additionally, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, music director of the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra, will step in for Muti to lead an open rehearsal of an orchestra of area high school students and members of the Civic Orchestra, at 7 p.m. Monday at Symphony Center. The program will remain unchanged for this kickoff event of the 2013 Chicago Youth in Music Festival.

Muti’s illness will not affect the CSO’s upcoming three-week tour of the Far East, according to Roe.

She said the Italian conductor, 71, expects to be fully recovered in time for the tour, which is set to begin with concerts Jan. 25 and 26 in Taipei, Taiwan. Other tour dates are in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, China; and Seoul, South Korea. Muti is scheduled to direct nine concerts in six cities. The tour concludes Feb. 7. 

“The tour is on and happening and he will be there and it’s fine,” Roe said, adding that Muti plans to arrive in Taiwan by a separate flight from the orchestra musicians, who will depart from O'Hare on Jan. 21. Their first rehearsal for the opening concerts of the tour is Jan. 25.

Because Muti will be unable to prepare the bulk of the tour repertory here, “there may be some repertory changes for the tour,” she added. “We just don’t know yet.”

Muti’s next Chicago appearances with the CSO are scheduled for April. His spring term will include three weeks of subscription concerts devoted to Bach’s Mass in B minor, Brahms' First Piano Concerto (with Maurizio Pollini as soloist) and other works.

jvonrhein@tribune.com

Twitter @jvonrhein

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