Riccardo Muti, currently the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, formerly chief conductor and Music Director of the London Philharmonic (1972-1982), Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-1992), and Music Director of the Teatro alla Scala (1986-2005), reflects on his classical education during an interview with Charlie Rose:
My father was a medical doctor… My profession was supposed to be to become a lawyer. That would have been a disaster, total disaster. So for reasons that are too long to explain, I became a musician. But my father never gave me the permission to abandon the regular studies, the classical studies, the liceo university. So that is really important, because I still can translate well in Latin, because I studied Latin for eight years, and for five years Greek. So this classic culture has helped me.
On May 11, 2012 Muti performed sacred music by Vivaldi and Verdi before Pope Benedict XVI in honor of the Holy Father’s seventh anniversary of his Pontificate. Following the concert the Pope delivered a brief address, and he conferred on Muti the Grand Cross of St. Gregory the Great.
(photo credit: Andreas Praefcke, Wikipedia)