Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Chicago Symphony Orchestra's artistic director, Riccardo Muti leading the CSO (photo by Todd Rosenberg).
The Government of Japan has announced that it has awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” decoration to Maestro Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Conferred twice a year by the Japanese government, the award recognizes Muti’s contributions to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the citizens of Japan and Italy through music. The Japanese government held its Spring Imperial Decorations ceremony at Japan’s Imperial Palace on May 10, 2016. The medal will be conferred upon Muti at a ceremony on a date and at a location to be announced.
Established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji, the Order of the Rising Sun was Japan’s first award, now the third highest Japanese decoration available. The Order of the Rising Sun is the highest-ranked Japanese award presented to foreigners and is divided into six classes, of which the Gold and Silver Star is the second class. The Gold and Silver Star medal is an eight-pointed gold star which depicts sunlight emanating from a red rising sun and is suspended from three enameled paulownia leaves. The medal is conferred upon recipients with its traditional white and red striped ribbon and is worn around the neck.
The Order of the Rising Sun is awarded to individuals who have made significant achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field or development in welfare or preservation of the environment.
This recognition for Muti comes after March 2016 concerts in Tokyo that marked the conductor’s 150th performance in Japan and also marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, as well as Japan’s recent issue of a Riccardo Muti commemorative stamp which celebrated these milestones. Muti also led the CSO on a successful 10-concert Asia Tour which included sold-out performances at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan on January 18 and 19, 2016.