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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Conductor given Russian honour
Riccardo Muti
Riccardo Muti: Musical director of La Scala
Italian conductor Riccardo Muti has received the Russian Order of Friendship from Russian president Vladimir Putin for boosting good relations between the two countries.

In a statement the president spoke of Muti's "merits in the development and strengthening of Russian-Italian cultural ties".

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin: Fan of "popular classical music"
Muti is currently on a trip to Russia and conducted a La Scala presentation of Verdi's Requiem at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre on Tuesday.

Muti has been musical director of La Scala since 1986.

Born in Naples in 1941, he and won the prestigious Cantelli Prize in 1967.

From 1968 to 1980 he was the principal director of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Prize

Since 1972 he has conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, later becoming principal director and, in 1982, conductor laureate.

Bolshoi Theatre
Muti conducted at the Bolshoi Theatre on Tuesday
In 1987 Muti was made the principal director of the Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he received the Viotti d'Oro prize in 1988.

President Putin's taste for classical music was revealed in his live webcast interview for BBC News Online in March of this year.

"As far as music is concerned, I like the so-called popular classical music," he said.

"If I came home and had a chance to put on some disc straight away, I would put on something by Tchaikovsky, or Liszt as transcribed by Schubert."

See also:

15 May 01 | Arts
Bolshoi standards slipping
29 Aug 00 | Europe
Putin sacks Bolshoi director
10 Jun 00 | Education
Ballet boys from Brazil
06 Mar 01 | Europe
Putin live: Transcript of webcast
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