Riccardo Muti, who turned 80 this summer, has not let the pandemic dim the torch of high culture he keeps ablaze in what he decries as an Iron Age of plummeting standards. After Verdi’s Aida in concert at the Arena di Verona and Beethoven’s august Missa Solemnis at the Salzburg Festival (to mention just two red-letter occasions), he at last rejoins his beloved Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leading three programs calibrated to enrich and excite. Alongside canonical masterpieces like Beethoven’s Third and Seventh symphonies, the Brahms Violin Concerto, and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique, Muti showcases neglected music by the long-overlooked Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (a Black contemporary of Mozart’s), and Florence Price (a Black contemporary of Aaron Copland’s), as well as Tchaikovsky’s contemporary Anatoly Liadov and our own very happening contemporary Missy Mazzoli. —M.G.
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