Riccardo Muti, Zell Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, received the Viareggio Rèpaci Special Prize during a gala ceremony Aug. 24 in Viareggio, Italy.

First awarded in 1930 and established in its namesake Tuscan city, the Viareggio Prize is traditionally a literary honor. To celebrate the prize’s landmark 90th anniversary, the jury decided to bestow five special honors, including the one given to Muti for his “commitment to defend the values of culture and to promote dialogue between peoples through music.” Acknowledging Muti’s work with the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra and the Italian Opera Academy, which he founded, the maestro also was cited for his achievements in helping to foster “a future for young people in which memory and hope meet in the name of art, of study, of passion.”

During the ceremony, special prizes also were awarded to the journalist Eugenio Scalfari, judge Sabino Cassese, singer-songwriter Gino Paoli and film director Marco Bellocchio.

TOP: Conductor Alberto Veronesi (from left) and former Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni present the Viareggio Rèpaci Special Prize to Riccardo Muti. | Photo: Giacomo Mozzi