The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music gets a much needed shot in the arm: Dudamel makes a stellar debut in LA

October 10, 2009
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By Jacob Stockinger

All eyes – and especially all ears – were focused on Los Angeles Thursday night.

That’s when the charismatic young 28-year-old Venezuela-born conductor Gustavo Dudamel made his gala debut in Walt Disney Hall as the new music director the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (All photos are by Lawrence Ho and the Los Angeles TImes.) dudamel-wild49754818

The concert came complete with huge outdoor video screens and indoor confetti (see last photo).

Not since Leonard Bernstien has such a young classical musician seemed to capture the public’s imagination so thoroughly.

It ‘s exactly the shot in the arm that the classical music world – so given to dire predictions of future irrelevance – needed.

The program included the world premiere of John Adam’s “City Noir,” commissioned for the occasion in this city of Raymond Chandler novels and film noir, and Mahler’s Symphony No.1 “Titan.”

(The First also happens to be The Ear’s favorite Mahler’s symphony as a whole – and will be performed by the Madison Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 23-25, although I also love certain other movements from certain other Mahler symphonies.)

Some praised Dudamel’s musicianship. (He took his bows with the musicians, who praised Dudamel in an interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition” Friday morning.) dudamel-players49754783

Some praised his rock-star qualities and ability to excite others about classical music in a populist way.

Some praised his hair.

Some even named a hotdog after him: The Dudamel is topped with guacamole.

Soon the LA Phil and Dudamel will tour the U.S. Anyone want to bet against all stops being sell-outs?

Here’s a round-up of links to reviews, along with a reminder that you can stream the complete concert and hear interviews as well as recording excerpts at and that you can watch the Great Performances broadcast of the debut concert on Wednesday, Oct. 21, on PBS.  (Check http://www.pbs.org to find out about local times and dates.)

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-et-dudamel-gala9-2009oct09,0,5741953.story

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113551695#Venezuela

htttp://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/10/dudamels-gala.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1010/p17s01-almp.html

What do you make of Gustavo Dudamel?

What’s your favorite Mahler symphony?

The Ear wants to hear.

dudamel_49754847


Posted in Classical music

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