Riccardo Muti is an Italian conductor and music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
As a student he was awarded a diploma in Composition and Conducting by the Conservatory "Giuseppe Verdi" in Milan
He also studied composition with Nino Rota, whom he considered a mentor. In 1968 he became principal conductor and music director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a post he held for eleven years.
Since 1971 he has been a frequent conductor of operas and concerts at the Salzburg Festival, where he is particularly known for his Mozart opera performances.
From 1972 Muti regularly conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and in 1974 he was appointed its principal conductor, succeeding Otto Klemperer.
In 1987 Muti served for 12 years as principal conductor of the Filarmonica Della Scala, Milan. Apart from his work at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, where he was music director for 19 years, Muti has led operatic performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and productions in the principal opera houses of Rome, Ravenna, Vienna, London, Munich, and New York.
His work with the Vienna State Opera has included Aida, La Forza Del Destino, Norma, Rigoletto, Così Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni in 1999 with Le Nozze di Figaro in 2001.
He has enjoyed a long and endearing association with the Salzburg Festival since he debuted with them in 1971 with Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" and over a number of years he has conducted numerous concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Festival and he has conducted opera productions, such as Così Fan Tutte, La Clemenza di Tito, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, Die Zauberflöte, Otello and Orfeo ed Euridice.
In 2011, Muti will conduct a new production of Verdi's Macbeth.
On 24 February 2005, there was a nasty dispute at La Scala where Muti failed to gain the support of some of his colleagues. It lead to him severing ties with the opera house.
Today, Muti is considered one of the world's greatest conductors of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi and several recordings of full length operas remain testament to his contribution to the world of opera.