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CSO Maestro Muti's Surgery Successful

UPDATED 02/08/11 4:47 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Symphony's renowned music director Riccardo Muti is said to be resting comfortably at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after surgery Monday.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Regine Schlesinger reports, Muti underwent surgery after he fainted and fell during a rehearsal this past Thursday.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Regine Schlesinger reports


Surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital wired Muti's broken jaw and inserted screws and plates to help his facial fractures heal. Muti's jaw will be wired shut for three weeks to allow it to heal. He also has a plate in his cheekbone.

"The surgery went very well, and I anticipate a full recovery," said Dr. Alexis Olsson said.

But doctors are still trying to figure out why Muti, 69, fainted this past Thursday. Olsson said Muti will remain hospitalized for more tests to determine why he fainted. He says specialists are examining Muti but wouldn't say what their specialties are.

CSO Association President Deborah Rutter said next week's concerts will be led by a guest conductor, while Muti will do "non-podium" work. She said it's too soon to say if he will conduct spring concerts that begin in April.

There is also no timetable for Muti's return to work, but CSO association president Deborah Rutter says Muti is eager to get back.

"He made fun of how he looked," Rutter said, "and went directly to saying, 'I hope everybody's OK. We were having so much fun. They played like angels. I'm so disappointed that I didn't do the performances. I can't wait to get back to them.'"

As CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports, Muti's jaw will remain wired shut for three weeks. He can talk, but will remain on a liquid-only diet for that time.

Last fall, Muti withdrew from the CSO's gala "Symphony Ball" because of "extreme gastric distress." He spent three months in his native Milan, Italy, to be treated by doctors who speak his native language.

The $2 million-a-year conductor returned to work in late January to begin rehearsals for a February residency, which kicks off Thursday night. Muti also has scheduled residencies in the spring as part of his five-year contract, the CSO said.

"What can you do when fate moves it's huge hand?" Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein said, adding that there's every reason for the CSO to remain committed to Muti.

"It makes absolute sense, because Muti is a world class figure, respected and known all over the concert world," von Rhein said.

Muti first conducted the CSO in his 30s, and his return to the city had been highly anticipated. He made his debut as the CSO's music director last September, 16 months after he was picked as the successor to Daniel Barenboim, who retired in 2006.

After Muti's injury on Thursday, the orchestra went ahead with its concert without him. The performances on Friday and Saturday were led by conductor/pianist Mitsuko Uchida and conductor Leonard Slatkin, and they will also lead a performance later Tuesday.

The CSO's performances on Thursday and Friday of this week will be led by Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, who makes his CSO debut in these concerts.

Next week, guest conductor Gianandrea Noseda will be on the podium for Muti.


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