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updated: 4/10/2013 1:54 PM

Riccardo Muti begins 3 weeks with CSO

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Associated Press

Famed Italian conductor Riccardo Muti is in Chicago where he's preparing for three weeks of performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Muti is music director of the orchestra. He spoke Wednesday about the symphony's next season, which will focus on works by Schubert and Verdi. Muti says Schubert's music is "a great teacher for an orchestra." This year is the bicentennial of Verdi's birth and the orchestra plans performances to honor the Italian composer. Muti says Verdi "speaks to the heart of the people."

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The orchestra also announced Wednesday that Muti will travel with the symphony in January 2014 to the Canary Islands and Europe. It will be his fifth international tour with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Muti's first performance is scheduled for Thursday evening.

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