Tragedy cast a pall over the nation and south Florida as Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra took the stage for a tour concert at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, just a few hours after a mass shooting in nearby Parkland, Fla. Maestro Muti began by addressing the audience: “The musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and I extend our condolences to the families of the victims of today’s tragedy. These kinds of tragedies are terrible, not only for Florida and for the United States, but for the entire world. Without getting into politics, all I can say is that the future would be a better place if in place of weapons, we had flowers.”
Muti went on to say, “The musicians and I will play tonight thinking of the pain and the suffering of the families of these boys and girls, who are the victims of brutality, violence and ignorance. After the Brahms symphony, we will play a short piece by Schubert from Rosamunde and dedicate this performance to the memory of the victims.”
Muti then invited audience members to stand in a moment of silence. He then asked patrons to hold their applause after the Schubert and to depart the concert hall with him and the members of the orchestra, in silence, which they did in a moving tribute to the victims and their families.
The CSO’s East Coast Tour 2018 continues with another concert Feb. 15 in West Palm Beach, followed by two performances Feb. 16-17 in Chapel Hill, N.C.