Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Musical America Musician of the Year: GUSTAVO DUDAMEL

In eight short years, 31-year-old Gustavo Dudamel has become more in demand than any conductor in the world. He is a household name in Los Angeles, where he is music director of the Philharmonic. He is mobbed in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, London, and Caracas, Venezuela, where he is one of his country's best-known and well-loved celebrities. Often compared to Leonard Bernstein, Dudamel shares the American conductor's charisma, tireless advocacy for music education, and expressive music-making. Dudamel studied violin as a child, and in his early teens he was invited to study conducting with José Antonio Abreu, architect of Venezuela's famed El Sistema music-education program. At age 18 he became music director of the Sistema's elite Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. In 2004, at age 23, he won the Bamberg Symphony's Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, and in 2007 he began a five-year appointment with Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony, which recently ended with his being named honorary conductor. His Los Angeles appointment, which began in September 2009, has been distinguished by the orchestra's founding of the Sistema-like Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) and a continuation of the orchestra's and his own commitment to new music, notably that of John Adams, who is the LAPhil's creative consultant.