Million-Dollar Maestros

Friday, October 14, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Two unrelated headlines formed a curious intersection this week.

On Thursday, Tarisio auction house announced that a 1783 Guadagnini violin that Lorin Maazel owned and used for his career will be put up for auction on November 10. Proceeds will go to his Castleton Festival in a fund to help young artists.

The 81-year-old conductor and violinist has had the instrument since he was 15 years old. Tarisio has placed an estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million on the violin, which is not as famous as a Stradivarius but just as beloved in virtuoso circles.

Meanwhile, Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, arrived in Stockholm on Thursday to pick up the $1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize. The award was established in the late singer's name, and is considered one of the largest in the world of classical music.

The 70-year-old Naples native is the second Birgit Nilsson Prize laureate, winning the 2011 award "for his extraordinary contributions in opera and concert, as well as his enormous influence in the music world both on and off the stage."

He received the award from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a lavish ceremony at the Swedish Royal Opera. The prize was first awarded in 2009 to Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, a laureate Nilsson had picked herself but whose name was kept secret for nearly a decade before it was revealed.

The Chicago Sun-Times's Andrew Patner reported that Muti was mum when asked about his plans for the $1 million. What do you think he should do with it?

With additional reporting from the Associated Press

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Comments [2]

Michael Meltzer

We as a nation looked the other way while Wall Street executives collected million-dollar-+ subsidized bonuses, as a reward for carelessly trashing the economy.
It does not behoove us to look over Maestro Muti's shoulder as he contemplates his honored, well-earned reward for a lifetime of dedicated service.

Oct. 15 2011 04:53 PM
Shadeed Ahmad from New York City

Illustrious classical music conductors are not a dime a dozen. They well deserve to be paid for the wonderful ways they honor classical music with their beautiful and transcendent interpretations.

Ricardo Muti is part of the wonderful truth, relative to the beauty and necessity of classical music to the arts and healthy human development.

Oct. 15 2011 03:08 AM

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