The Chicago Symphony Orchestra said Monday that it had engaged Riccardo Muti as its next music director, luring the charismatic Italian maestro — one of a dwindling band of podium eminences — to the United States and adding a layer of luster to the city's cultural profile. Mr. Muti, 66, will take over in the 2010-11 season. His contract will run for five years, and he is expected to conduct a minimum of 10 weeks a season and lead tours. "I would like to make this last engagement as music director in my life something that can enrich people," Mr. Muti said Monday in his first interview after signing the contract. As recently as last September, Mr. Muti had emphatically rejected the idea of taking over the responsibilities of an American music directorship and all the nonmusical duties the job entails. But his tone shifted after an electric month conducting the orchestra at the start of this season, half in Symphony Hall in Chicago and half on a European tour.
The Chicago Muti Fever hit Japan, too.
Handy infographic on the 9 previous music directors of the CSO here