Gustavo Dudamel

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Dudamel and the second or maternal family name is Ramírez.
Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel.jpeg
Dudamel in 2008
Background information
Birth name Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez
Born (1981-01-26) January 26, 1981 (age 34)
Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Composer, conductor
Instruments Violin
Years active 1999–present
Associated acts Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez (born January 26, 1981) is a Venezuelan conductor and violinist. He is the music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is honorary conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the son of a trombonist and a voice teacher.[1] He studied music from an early age, becoming involved with El Sistema, the famous Venezuelan musical education program, and took up the violin at age ten. He soon began to study composition. He attended the Jacinto Lara Conservatory, where José Luis Jiménez was among his violin teachers. He then went on to work with José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin-American Violin Academy.

Dudamel began to study conducting in 1995, first with Rodolfo Saglimbeni, then later with José Antonio Abreu. In 1999, he was appointed music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, the national youth orchestra of Venezuela, and toured several countries. He attended Charles Dutoit's master class in Buenos Aires in 2002, and worked as assistant for Simon Rattle in Berlin and Salzburg in 2003.

Conducting career[edit]

Dudamel has won a number of conducting competitions, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Prize in Germany in 2004.[2] His reputation began to spread, attracting the attention of such conductors Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, who accepted invitations to conduct the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Venezuela.[3] Dudamel debuted with the Philharmonia, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others, in 2005, and also signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.

In 2005, Dudamel first conducted the Gothenburg Symphony at the BBC Proms, on short notice as a replacement for Neeme Järvi.[4][5] In 2006, the Gothenburg Symphony named Dudamel its next principal conductor.[6] He took up his post in 2007[1] until the end of his contract in 2012.[7]

Dudamel made his debut at La Scala, Milan, with Don Giovanni in November 2006. On September 10, 2007, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time at the Lucerne Festival. On April 16, 2007, Gustavo Dudamel conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in a concert in commemoration of the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI, with Hilary Hahn as solo violinist, with the Pope and many other church dignitaries among the audience.[8]

In 2013, Dudamel conducted the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra during the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Dudamel continues to retain his position with the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra.[9]

Music director, Los Angeles Philharmonic[edit]

Dudamel made his US conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LAP) at the Hollywood Bowl on September 13, 2005 in a program consisting of "La Noche de los Mayas" by Silvestre Revueltas and the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5.[10] Dudamel was subsequently invited back to conduct the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January 2007 in performances of "Dances of Galánta" by Zoltán Kodály, the third piano concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra (the latter of which was recorded live and subsequently released by Deutsche Grammophon).

In April 2007, during a guest conducting engagement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dudamel was named the LAP's next music director as of the 2009–2010 season, succeeding Esa-Pekka Salonen. His initial contract in Los Angeles was for five years, beginning in September 2009.[11][12][13]

Dudamel began his tenure as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic on September 28, 2009 with a rehearsal of Beethoven's 9th Symphony that included the Los Angeles Master Chorale and representatives of eight community-based choruses. His first official rehearsal with the orchestra followed on September 30. On October 3 he conducted Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl in "Bienvenido Gustavo," a free concert, and conducted his official inaugural concert featuring the world premiere of John Adams' "City Noir" and Mahler's Symphony No. 1 with his new orchestra in Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 8.

In February 2011, the orchestra announced the extension of Dudamel's contract through the end of the 2018-2019 season, including the orchestra's 100th year anniversary.[14] In March 2015, the orchestra announced a further extension of his Los Angeles Philharmonic contract through the 2021-2022 season.[15]

Awards and media[edit]

Dudamel is featured in the documentary film Tocar y Luchar, which covers El Sistema. Dudamel and the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar received the WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award in New York City in November 2007. Another US television news feature on Dudamel was on 60 Minutes in February 2008, entitled "Gustavo the Great".

On July 23, 2009, Dudamel was selected by the Eighth Glenn Gould Prize laureate José Antonio Abreu as winner of the prestigious The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.

Dudamel is featured in the 2011 documentary "Let The Children Play," a film which focuses on his work advocating for music as a way to enrich children's lives.[16]

Gramophone, the British classical music magazine, named Dudamel its 2011 Gramophone Artist of the Year. Past recipients of the award include Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Tilson Thomas, Riccardo Chailly, Cecilia Bartoli and Antonio Pappano, to name only a few. On February 12, 2012, Dudamel won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, for his recording of Brahms Symphony No. 4 for the label Deutsche Grammophon.

Personal life[edit]

Dudamel and his wife, Eloísa Maturén

Dudamel married Eloísa Maturén, in 2006 in Caracas. Maturén, also a Venezuelan native, is a classically trained ballet dancer and a journalist. The Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra combined forces with the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and the Orfeon Universitario of the Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado to make the event a special musical celebration. The wedding took place in the chapel at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Montalbán, a suburb of Caracas. They have a son, Martín Dudamel Maturén, a U.S. citizen.[17] In March 2015, the couple filed papers for divorce.[15]


  • Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Birthday Concert for Pope Benedict XVI [w / Hilary Hahn & the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart] DVD
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 5 [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD<
  • Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra [w / the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • The Promise of Music [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] DVD
  • Fiesta [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique [w / the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic: The Inaugural Concert [w / the Los Angeles Philharmonic] DVD; e-Video
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 1 (From the Inaugural Concert) [w / the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • Discoveries [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Live from Salzburg [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] DVD
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Francesca da Rimini [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Celebración - Opening Night Concert & Gala [w/ Juan Diego Flórez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic] DVD; Digital Downloa
  • Adams: City Noir (From the Inaugural Concert) [w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • Rite [w / the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 - Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 - Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 [w/ the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra] CD
  • Tchaikovsky & Shakespeare [w/ the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • New Year's Eve Concert 2010 [w/ Elīna Garanča and the Berliner Philharmoniker] DVD
  • Adams: Slonimsky's Earbox - Bernstein: Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" [w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • Brahms: Symphony No. 4 [w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic] Digital Download only
  • An American in Paris [w/ the Los Angeles Philharmonic] e-Video only
  • Dances and Waves [w/ the Vienna Philharmonic] CD; DVD; Digital Download
  • Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 [w/ the Vienna Philharmonic] Vinyl only (LP)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, "Eroica" [w/ the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Discoveries [w/ Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra] CD+DVD; Digital Download
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 8 [w/ Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela] DVD; Blu-ray; e-Video
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [w/ Los Angeles Philharmonic] CD
  • Mahler: Symphony No. 7. [w/ Símon Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela] CD
  • Wagner [w/ Símon Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela] Digital Download


  1. ^ a b Reed Johnson (23 November 2008). "Conductor Gustavo Dudamel is riding a wave of Dudamania". LA Times. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  2. ^ Sue Steward (23 Feb 2006). "He's astonishingly gifted". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  3. ^ Geoffrey Norris (16 August 2007). "BBC Proms 2007: Why I'm worried about Gustavo". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  4. ^ Charlotte Higgins (4 August 2005). "Conducting prodigy to make Proms debut at 24". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  5. ^ Tim Ashley (8 August 2005). "Gothenburg SO/Dudamel (review of Prom 30, 2005)". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  6. ^ Vivien Schweitzer (13 Apr 2006). "Gustavo Dudamel Appointed Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  7. ^ "Dudamel förnyar kontrakt med Göteborgs Symfoniker till 2012" (Press release). Göteborgs Symfoniker. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  8. ^ Nicole Winfield (16 Apr 2007). "Pope marks 80th birthday with concert". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-08-16. [dead link]
  9. ^ Richard Morrison (15 Feb 2007). "True class: South America’s lightning conductor". The Times (London). Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  10. ^ Mark Swed (15 September 2005). "He holds Bowl in palm of his hands; Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, 24, commands attention". Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ Mark Swed (2007-04-08). "Maestro will pass baton to up-and-comer in '09". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  12. ^ Matthew Westphal (8 April 2007). "Gustavo Dudamel to Succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen at LA Philharmonic in 2009". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  13. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (9 April 2007). "Maestro of Los Angeles Philharmonic to Pass the Baton to a Wunderkind". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  14. ^ David Ng (3 February 2011). "Gustavo Dudamel extends contract with L.A. Philharmonic through 2018-19 season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Jeffrey Fleishman, Mike Boehm, David Ng (2015-03-27). "Gustavo Dudamel's L.A. Phil deal reverberates across classical music world". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  16. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel Comes to the Big Screen / News / News / All Things Strings". 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  17. ^ "LA Phil’s Gustavo Dudamel, Wife Welcome First Child". CBS Los Angeles (CBS Local Media). 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
Further reading
  • Tunstall, Tricia, Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music, New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 2012 ISBN 978-0-393-07896-1

External links[edit]