The Well-Tempered Ear

Superstar maestro Gustavo Dudamel to leave LA for the New York Philharmonic

February 8, 2023
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By Jacob Stockinger

It will probably be the biggest music news story of the year, perhaps even the decade.

Gustavo Dudamel (below), the Venezuelan-born maestro of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will become the music director of the New York Philharmonic starting in 2026.

The news was announced late yesterday afternoon on both coasts. The New York Philharmonic post is probably the most prestigious music post in the United States, a podium once occupied by Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur.

In what one imagines is a very, very expensive coup — the financial terms were not disclosed — the New York Philharmonic recruited the 42-year-old superstar maestro who is known for giving passionate and fiery performances and for innovating music education programs, both of which have brought in bigger and younger audiences.

He also built a reputation for championing new music, Latin music and musicians of color. (In the YouTube video at the bottom, you can hear Dudamel conducting Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2, a Latin American piece he made famous and which is now often used by other orchestras on full programs or as an encore. In the video, he is conducting the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra, the senior orchestra of “El Sistema” and the post that Dudamel held before heading to Los Angeles.)

Dudamel has guest conducted the New York Philharmonic more than two dozen times. The musicians there have greeted him warmly and enviously, especially since their CEO Deborah Borda originally signed Dudamel to the Los Angeles post in 2009 when he was 26.

Born into a musical family, Dudamel himself became a professional musician by rising through the ranks of “El Sistema,” the national youth music organization in his native country. He studied violin and composition before turning to conducting with global success and fame.

In Los Angeles he has been nominated for and won many Grammys for his many recordings. He also been the music director of the Paris Opera.

It is worth noting: New York will soon have two of the most charismatic and recognizable conductors in the world: Dudamel; and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is the music director of the Metropolitan Opera as well as the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal.

Here are stories from both sides now: from the West Coast he is leaving and the East Coast he will be going to.

Here is the story by The New York Times:

And here is the story from The Los Angeles Times:

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2023-02-07/gustavo-dudamel-will-leave-the-l-a-phil-for-ny-philharmonic-in-2026


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