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Riccardo Muti Wins 1 Million Dollar Birgit Nilsson Prize

March 17, 2011, 5:13 am GMT

Although he canceled two performances to recover from health crisis, the Italian conductor was named the recipient of the prize because of his 'extraordinary contributions in opera and concert'.



Celebrated Italian conductor Riccardo Muti has bounced back from his recent health crisis to land the most coveted award in classical music. The maestro underwent surgery in February and had a pacemaker fitted after collapsing during a rehearsal with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Illinois.

Muti canceled two planned performances of Verdi's Otello in April to allow himself time to recover, but his career has not suffered, on Wednesday, March 16, he was named the recipient of the $1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize in recognition of his "extraordinary contributions in opera and concert".

"I was deeply touched by the jury's accolade, all the more so given my profound admiration for this unique and extraordinary artist, both as an incomparable musician and as a great interpreter," Muti says in a statement.

He will be presented with the prize at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on October 13.

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