|Chicago director denies being dictator|
|Written by Associated Press|
|Monday, 29 September 2008 18:00|
GENEVA (AP) - At La Scala, he rankled musicians and clashed with management, personifying at least to some the stereotype of the megalomaniac maestro.
Soon off to Chicago and looking to spread goodwill through music across the globe, Riccardo Muti - the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's new music director - is preaching a different creed. He says any functioning orchestra has to be a democracy.
"I have the reputation around the world as Muti, 'Il Dittatore,'" the 67-year-old conductor told a small group of journalists in Geneva, where he was leading the Vienna Philharmonic in a concert to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the World Health Organization on Monday.
"But it's not so. It's because when I get to work, I say, 'Buongiorno, let's start.'"
Muti, a native of Naples, was music director of Milan's La Scala opera house from 1986 to 2005. He said his direct style with musicians - an Italian preference for "si o no" - might have ruffled some from other cultures used to the long, polite way of answering questions.
"A symphony is a democracy,"he said. "People play different parts together. Every part must have its independence. But it must express itself without killing the independence of the other parts. Otherwise the democracy is killed. Questo e il concetto della musica (that's the idea of music)."
Muti begins a five-year contract as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in September of the 2010-2011 season, filling a post that has been vacant since Daniel Barenboim left two years ago.