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Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has received Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, from the government of Japan, in recognition of his efforts at promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding through music.

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 and is now the third highest Japanese decoration available. It 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 Order of the Rising Sun honors 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.

The honor comes after Muti’s concerts in March in Tokyo that marked the conductor’s 150th performance in Japan and also commemorated the 150th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy. In addition, Japan recently issued a Riccardo Muti commemorative stamp that celebrated these milestones.  Earlier this year, Muti the CSO on a successful 10-concert Asia tour, which included sold-out performances Jan. 18-19 at Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan.