As an internationally renowned symphonic and operatic conductor, Gustavo Dudamel is motivated by a profound belief in music’s power to unite and inspire. Currently serving as Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, the impact of his leadership extends from the greatest concert stages to classrooms, cinemas and innovative digital platforms around the world. Dudamel also appears as guest conductor with some of the world’s most famous musical institutions: in 2017, he tours Europe with the Berlin Philharmonic and is the youngest-ever conductor to lead the Vienna Philharmonic’s famous New Year’s Day Concert, watched annually by over 50 million people in 90 countries.
Now entering his eighth season as Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel’s contract has been extended to the end of the 2021-2022 season. At his initiative, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has dramatically expanded the scope of its community outreach programs, including most notably the creation of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by the philosophy of Venezuela’s admired El Sistema, which encourages social development through music. With YOLA and diverse local educational initiatives, Dudamel brings music to children in underserved communities of Los Angeles. These programs have in turn inspired similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as in Sweden (Hammarkullen) and Scotland (Raploch).
At the Los Angeles Philharmonic, not only the breadth of audiences reached is remarkable, but also the depth of programming performed under Dudamel. LA Phil programs continue to represent the best and boldest in new music, including numerous premieres and commissions by composers such as John Adams, Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner, Arvo Pärt, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Kaija Saariaho. A West Coast tour kicks off the LA Phil’s 2016-17 season, followed by season highlights including Haydn’s Creation, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, the world premiere of Andrew Norman’s New Work for Orchestra, Part 2, several pieces by Lutosławski and a series of evenings contrasting the works of Schubert and Mahler.
Dudamel’s work in his native Venezuela serves as the cornerstone of his engagement with young people, and he steadfastly commits some twenty-five weeks of his annual schedule to the orchestras and children of El Sistema, both in Caracas and around the country. During his 18th season as Music Director of the entire El Sistema project, he continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, as well as on tour around the globe. Following a late summer 2016 European tour, the Bolívars and Dudamel launch the Carnegie Hall season in New York with three programs. In March 2017, they perform entire Beethoven symphony cycles in Barcelona, Vienna and for the opening of Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
Recordings, broadcasts and digital innovations are also fundamental to Dudamel’s passionate advocacy for universal access to music. A Grammy Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005, Dudamel’s discography includes landmark recordings of John Adams’ Gospel According to the Other Mary (commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic), the sound track to the motion picture Libertador, for which Dudamel also composed the score, Mahler Symphonies 5 and 7 with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler 9 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A unique performance of Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” featuring the combined forces of the LA Phil and the Bolívars and over 1000 choristers and children from across Venezuela, was captured for DVD/Blu-Ray and broadcast live to cinemas in the US and Canada. A film documentary, Let the Children Play, featuring Dudamel, was also shown in over 500 Fathom movie theaters nationwide. A special charity LP release of Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic raised funds for music education projects in Europe and Latin America. Dudamel has also independently produced an all-Wagner recording available exclusively for download, a complete set of Beethoven symphonies for digital learning, and a streaming broadcast of two Stravinsky ballets with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in cooperation with the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall. Set for release in December 2016, his latest Deutsche Grammophon album sees him once again at the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic, this time in an all-Russian programme bringing together two works by Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition (in Ravel’s magnificent orchestration) and A Night on Bald Mountain – and the much-loved Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Gustavo Dudamel has been featured three times on CBS’s 60 Minutes and was subject of a PBS special, Dudamel: Conducting a Life. He appeared on Sesame Street with Elmo, with Charlie Rose, Conan O’Brian, and on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Most recently, Gustavo had a cameo role in Amazon Studio’s award-winning series, Mozart in the Jungle, guest-conducted on the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, together with members of YOLA, became the first classical musician to participate in the Superbowl Half Time Show, appearing alongside pop stars Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most decorated conductors of his generation. He received the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016, and the 2014 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School. He was named Musical America’s 2013 Musician of the Year, one of the highest honors in the classical music industry, and was voted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame. 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 Centroccidental 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 was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began violin lessons as a child with José Luis Jiménez and Francisco Díaz at the Jacinto Lara Conservatory. He continued his violin studies with Rubén Cova and José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin American Academy of Violin. His conducting studies began in 1996 with Rodolfo Saglimbeni and, that 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. Dudamel was brought to international attention by winning the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition in 2004. He then went on to become Music Director of the Gothenburg Symphony (2007-2012), where he currently holds the title Honorary Conductor. His early musical and mentoring experiences inspired his life-long commitment to music as a catalyst for learning, integration, and social change.