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Chicago Symphony music director Riccardo Muti Talks About the Power of Music and his S.F. Visit (Part 1)

By Richard Scheinin

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Last year, when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed in San Francisco for the first time since 1987, Riccardo Muti was on the podium. This eminent conductor is practically a brand name, synonymous with La Scala (where he was music director from 1986 to 2005), the Philadelphia Orchestra (1980-92) and other great orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, with which he enjoys an association of 40 years.

But when I spoke by phone with Muti — now in his second season as Chicago’s music director — he became most engaged when discussing prisons. Yes, prisons.

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