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On May 31, 1977, a news conference was held at Orchestra Hall to announce plans for the upcoming 1977-78 season. Recently, Sir Georg Solti had been criticized for concentrating too much on recording and touring, implying that he was “manipulating the Chicago situation purely for his own gain—financial or otherwise.”

Chicago Tribune – October 12, 1987

With humor and “more than a trace of seriousness,” Solti replied: “The city should erect a statue to me.”

Fast forward ten years.

The day following Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday concert, on October 10, 1987, a bust was dedicated in the formal gardens in front of the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Commissioned by C. Geraldine Freund—longtime generous supporter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—the bronze bust was sculpted by Dame Elizabeth Frink.

Press coverage of the event is here and here.

Lady Valerie Solti, Deborah Rutter, Maggie Daley, and Bob O’Neill

In October 2006, the bust was moved south—closer to Orchestra Hall—in what is now Sir Georg Solti Garden in Grant Park. The statue distantly faces The Spirit of Music, a memorial to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s founder and first music director, Theodore Thomas.

The re-dedication was attended by members of the Orchestra, patrons, and staff, along with Lady Valerie Solti, Deborah F. Rutter (president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association), Maggie Daley (wife of then-Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley), and Bob O’Neill (representing the Grant Park Conservancy).

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