Riccardo Muti was this morning named as a recipient of the Praemium Imperiale Awards, given annually by the Japan Art Association in recognition of those ’who have made a major international impact in their particular field’. There are also awards for Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film.
Muti - whose prominent career now spans half a century - is currently Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, while previous music directorships have include the Philharmonia and La Scala (for 19 years). Three years ago he founded the Riccardo Muti Italian Opera Academy for young conductors, répétiteurs and singers. Previous recipients of the prize - who receive ¥15m (c£100,000) - have included Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Arvo Pärt and Martha Argerich.
Muti’s fellow recipients this year included Catherine Deneuve (in the theatre/film category), Pierre Alechinsky (painting), Fujiko Nakaya (sculpture) and Christian de Portzamparc (architecture). There is also a ¥5m Grant for Young Artists, which this year went to the British education charity Shakespeare Schools Foundation.