Riccardo Muti, Zell Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, celebrated out a holiday tradition when he led his Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra in the annual Christmas concert on Dec. 15 before the Italian Senate.

Among the works performed by Muti and his orchestra were selections by Italian composers Vincenzo Bellini, Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Giuseppe Martucci, Gioachino Rossini (including the William Tell Overture by the latter) and Giuseppe Verdi.

In the audience were Sergio Mattarella, president of Italy, and Giuseppe Conti, the nation’s prime minister.

Elisabetta Casellati, president of the Senate, hailed Muti for his cultural advocacy. “The Christmas Concert, entrusted to the main representative of Italian culture in the world, Maestro Riccardo Muti, is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate the art, history and beauty of Italy,” she said. “In a word: ‘Italianness’.”

Proceeds from the concert go to local charities, including this year, clean-up efforts in flood-ravaged Venice.