Gustavo Dudamel

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Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel.jpeg
Dudamel in 2012
Background information
Birth nameGustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez
Born (1981-01-26) January 26, 1981 (age 37)
Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela
Occupation(s)Composer, conductor
Years active1999–present
Associated actsSimon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic

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.

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. Barrett Baker of Pace Academy coined his nickname, "Duda."

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 competitions, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Germany in 2004.[2] His reputation began to spread, attracting the attention of conductors such as Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, who accepted invitations to conduct the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Veneite.[3] In April 2006 Dudamel was appointed as principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony for season 2007-2008.[4]

Dudamel made his debut at La Scala, Milan, with Don Giovanni in November 2006. On September 10, 2007, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time at the Lucerne Festival. On April 16, 2007 he conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall 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.[5]

In 2011 he starred in the documentary Dudamel, El Sonido de los Niños directed by the Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo.[citation needed]

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.[6] In April 2014 Dudamel returned to conduct with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, as its Honorary Conductor, for concerts in the orchestra's home city and on tour in France, Switzerland, and Italy.[7]

In 2015 Dudamel conducted both the opening and end titles, at the behest of famed movie composer John Williams, for the official motion picture soundtrack and film of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. At the 2016 Super Bowl, Dudamel and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) accompanied Coldplay and sang along with Chris Martin, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

On 1 January 2017, Dudamel conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in their traditional New Year's Day Concert. At the age of 35, he was the youngest guest conductor for this event.

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.[8] 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.[9][10][11]

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 anniversary.[12]

Dudamel performed his opera prima "Libertador" orchestral film suite, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in the "Noche de Cine" concert special, July 30, 2014. L.A.Times review this concert as a night of Gustavos with the guitarist and Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla as special guest in an extended suite from his music for "Motorcycle Diaries," one of six varied film and television scores excerpted on the program.

In March 2015, the orchestra announced a further extension of his Los Angeles Philharmonic contract through the 2021–2022 season.[13]

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.[14]

Gramophone, the British classical music magazine, named Dudamel its 2011 Gramophone Artist of the Year. Also in 2011, he was inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In February 2012, Dudamel won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, for his recording of Brahms Symphony No. 4 for the label Deutsche Grammophon.[15][16] In 2013, Dudamel was named Musical America's Musician of the Year and was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.[17] The LAP's continued commitment to innovation and new music under the direction of Dudamel and Borda prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to name LAP "the most creative, and, therefore, the best orchestra in America."[18] Dudamel received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School in 2014 and the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016.

The character of Rodrigo in Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle was based, in part, on Dudamel. Rodrigo is also curly-haired, Latin American, very young, and usually referred to only by his first name.[19] In the first episode of the show's second season, in which Rodrigo appears as a guest conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel appears as a guest actor, playing the part of a stage manager.

In August 2018 Dudamel, announces plans for the LA Phil's 2018-2019 centennial season, including an unprecedented 50 commissions of new music and a Frank Gehry-designed permanent home for Dudamel's YOLA youth orchestra.

On October 18, 2018, it was announced that Dudamel would become the 25th recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize [20] [21]

Personal life[edit]

Dudamel and his ex-wife, Eloísa Maturén

Dudamel has been married twice. His first marriage, in 2006, was to Eloísa Maturén in Caracas. Maturén, also a Venezuelan native, is a classically trained ballet dancer and a journalist. Their marriage produced a son, Martín Dudamel Maturén, a U.S. citizen.[22] In March 2015, Dudamel and Maturén filed papers for divorce.[13] In March 2017, Dudamel married Spanish actress María Valverde.[23] He became a Spanish citizen in 2018.[24]


  • 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 Download
  • 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


  1. ^ Reed Johnson (23 November 2008). "Conductor Gustavo Dudamel rides 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. ^ "Dudamel förnyar kontrakt med Göteborgs Symfoniker till 2012". Göteborgs Symfoniker. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  4. ^ Vivien Schweitzer (13 Apr 2006). "Gustavo Dudamel Appointed Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony". Playbill Arts. Retrieved August 16, 2007.
  5. ^ Nicole Winfield (16 Apr 2007). "Pope marks 80th birthday with concert". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  6. ^ Richard Morrison (15 Feb 2007). "True class: South America's lightning conductor". The Times. London. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Mark Swed (15 September 2005). "He holds Bowl in palm of his hands; Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, 24, commands attention". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Mark Swed (April 8, 2007). "Maestro will pass baton to up-and-comer in '09". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Matthew Westphal (April 8, 2007). "Gustavo Dudamel to Succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen at LA Philharmonic in 2009". Playbill Arts. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  11. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (April 9, 2007). "Maestro of Los Angeles Philharmonic to Pass the Baton to a Wunderkind". New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
  12. ^ David Ng (February 3, 2011). "Gustavo Dudamel extends contract with L.A. Philharmonic through 2018–19 season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Jeffrey Fleishman; Mike Boehm; David Ng (March 27, 2015). "Gustavo Dudamel's L.A. Phil deal reverberates across classical music world". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel Comes to the Big Screen / News / News / All Things Strings". 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  15. ^ Tilden, Imogen. "Gustavo Dudamel named artist of the year at Gramophone awards". The Guardian.
  16. ^ "Grammy Awards 2012: Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Philharmonic win". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Boehm, Mike. "Gustavo Dudamel named musician of the year by Musical America". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Ross, Alex (June 18, 2012). "Sacred Dissonance". The New Yorker.
  19. ^ Ng, David (February 10, 2014). "'Mozart in the Jungle': Is 'Rodrigo' a parody of Gustavo Dudamel?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  20. ^ ""Superstar Conductor" Gustavo Dudamel to Receive The 25th Annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize". The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  21. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel to receive Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for his work in the arts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "LA Phil's Gustavo Dudamel, Wife Welcome First Child". CBS Los Angeles. CBS Local Media. 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  23. ^ "María Valverde se casa con el director de orquesta Gustavo Dudamel". El País. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  24. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel y Andrés Pastrana adoptan la nacionalidad española". Iberoeconomía. 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2018-05-06.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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]