Meet The Performers

Conductor

Gustavo Dudamel

Dynamic conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s passionate music-making invigorates audiences of all ages worldwide. Concurrently serving as Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the impact of his musical leadership is felt on several continents. 

While his commitment to his music director posts in the United States and Venezuela accounts for the major portion of his yearly schedule, Dudamel also guest conducts with some of the world’s greatest musical institutions each season. This season he returns to the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and La Scala in both opera and concert, along with appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw, Berlin Staatskapelle, Israel Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, and Gothenburg Symphony, where he is now Honorary Conductor.  

Dudamel is in his fourth season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his contract has already been extended until 2018-19, the orchestra’s 100th season. Under his leadership the Los Angeles Philharmonic has extended its reach to an unprecedented extent via LA Phil LIVE, theater-casts of Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts which have reached audiences throughout North America, Europe and South America, and through Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by Venezuela’s widely successful El Sistema.  With YOLA, Gustavo brings music to children in the underserved communities of Los Angeles, and also serves as an inspiration for similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as for programs in Sweden and Scotland. 

It is not only the breadth of the audience reached, but also the depth of the programming performed under Gustavo Dudamel that is remarkable. Programs at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2012-2013 represent the best and the boldest: ranging from an LA Phil-commissioned and now staged oratorio by John Adams titled The Gospel According to the Other Mary, which the LA Phil and Dudamel  tour to New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Centre, Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, and Paris’ Salle Pleyel; to a staged Marriage of Figaro with sets by architect Jean Nouvel, representing part two of a three-consecutive-year project of presenting the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy. 

Having triumphed in performances at the 2012 Olympics in London, Gustavo Dudamel continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in his native Venezuela as well as on tour, in this his 14th season as Music Director.  Late fall 2012 touring includes performances at Berkeley’s CalPresents, Chicago’s Symphony Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and New York’s Carnegie Hall, where they are  part of the Voices from Latin America festival. Additional highlights include a fully staged Rigoletto in July 2012 in Caracas, which is part of a multi-year collaboration of shared productions with La Scala.  In April 2013, Dudamel and the Bolívars are joined by Lang Lang for the world premiere of the Benzecry Piano Concerto, jointly commissioned by Dudamel and Lang Lang.  The Bolívar season rounds out with a production of Tannhäuser at the Bogotá Opera in June 2013, followed by a 2013 summer residency at the Salzburg Festival.

An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005, Gustavo Dudamel has numerous recordings on the label ranging in repertoire from Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps to Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 3, 5 and 7.    In February 2012, Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance for their live recording of the Brahms Symphony No. 4.  In spring 2012, an LP of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 with the Vienna Philharmonic was released, with proceeds donated to charity for the purchase of instruments for young musicians of El Sistema in San Vicente, Venezuela.  In August 2012, the CD, DVD and PBS telecast of the live Vienna Philharmonic Schönbrunn concert, The Summer Night Concert, is released.  The fall 2012 release, Gustavo Dudamel: Discoveries, is a compilation of recording activities with the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony (CD,CD+DVD). Anticipated for release during the 2012-2013 season are the Mahler Symphonies No. 7 (CD / Bolívars), No. 8 (DVD / with the combined forces of the LA Phil and the Bolívars), and No. 9 (CD / LA Phil).

In the area of video/DVD, many releases capture the excitement of important concerts in Gustavo Dudamel’s musical life, including The Inaugural Concert documenting his first concert in 2009 as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Year’s Eve Concert Gala 2011 with the Berlin Philharmonic, and a Birthday Concert for Pope Benedict XVI, among others.  In June 2011, a documentary, Let the Children Play, featuring Dudamel, was shown in over 500 Fathom movie theaters nationwide. Gustavo Dudamel has been featured three times on CBS’s 60 Minutes and appeared on a 2010 PBS special, Dudamel: Conducting a Life, with Tavis Smiley. He appeared on Sesame Street with Elmo in February 2012.

Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most decorated conductors of his generation. In October of 2011, he was named Gramophone Artist of the Year, and in May of the same year, was inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in consideration of his “eminent merits in the musical art.”  The previous year, he received the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT.  Dudamel was inducted into l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres as a Chevalier in Paris in 2009, and received an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Centro-Occidental Lisandro Alvarado in his hometown of Barquisimeto. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg in 2012. In 2008, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra was awarded Spain’s prestigious annual Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts and, along with his mentor José Antonio Abreu, Dudamel was given the “Q Prize” from Harvard University for extraordinary service to children.

Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009, Gustavo Dudamel hails from humble beginnings in the small town of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Born in 1981, he began violin lessons as a child with José Luis Jiménez at the Jacinto Lara Conservatory. He continued his violin studies with José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. His conducting studies began in 1996 with Rodolfo Saglimbeni and, the same year, he was given his first conducting position, Music Director of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra.  In 1999, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and began conducting studies with the orchestra’s founder, Dr. Abreu; a few years later in 2004, Dudamel was brought to international attention by winning the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition. These early musical and mentoring experiences molded his commitment to music as an engine for social change – a lifelong passion.

Gustavo Dudamel, his wife Eloisa Maturén, and their young son divide their time mainly between Caracas and Los Angeles.

This biography is based on information provided by the artist, ensemble or representatives thereof and may only be as current as the artist’s or ensemble’s most recent performance at Symphony Center.