Maestro Muti in Sweden to accept $1M music prize

By the Associated Press | October 13, 2011 | 9:50 AM EDT

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Italian conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, says he had admired late Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson almost all his life before becoming the second-ever laureate to receive the $1 million award established in her name.

Muti won the 2011 Birgit Nilsson prize for "extraordinary contributions in opera and concert" and was due to receive the award from King Carl XVI Gustaf later Thursday.

The 70-year-old Muti is the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He previously conducted the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Teatro alla Scala.

The first Birgit Nilsson prize went to Spanish tenor Placido Domingo in 2009.

Nilsson is considered one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos. She died in 2005.