The Italian Almanac

Riccardo Muti

Best Classical Album

Italian conductor Riccardo Muti received his first Grammy award for his Chicago Symphony Orchestra's rendering of Verdi's Requiem. The CSO's performance won the Best Classical Album of the Year award, an honour Muti shared with producer Christopher Alder. The recording also garnered a Grammy as best choral performance of the year. In a statement, the CSO said Muti "conducted Verdi's masterpiece with an amazing energy" soon after he joined the American ensemble in 2009.

The two Grammys came two days after Muti, 69, was fitted with a pacemaker to correct what was called a "common" heart condition. Doctors said the conductor, who is recovering in a Chicago hospital, was in "good" condition. Muti, a former director of La Scala in Milan, missed about half of the CSO's autumn season after he flew back to Italy in October and underwent a series of tests for exhaustion.