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
Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the son of a trombonist and a voice teacher. 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.
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.
Dudamel has won a number of conducting competitions, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Prize in Germany in 2004. 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 press release Dudamel made his debut at La Scala, Milan, with Don Giovanni in November 2006. On September 10, 2007, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time at the Lucerne Festival. On April 16, 2007 he conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra 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.
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.
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.
Music director, Los Angeles Philharmonic
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. 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.
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 year anniversary. In March 2015, the orchestra announced a further extension of his Los Angeles Philharmonic contract through the 2021-2022 season.
Awards and media
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.
Gramophone, the British classical music magazine, named Dudamel its 2011 Gramophone Artist of the Year. Past recipients of the award include Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Tilson Thomas, Riccardo Chailly, Cecilia Bartoli and Antonio Pappano, to name only a few. On February 12, 2012, Dudamel won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, for his recording of Brahms Symphony No. 4 for the label Deutsche Grammophon.
The character of Rodrigo in Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle was based, in part, on Dudamel.
Dudamel married Eloísa Maturén, in 2006 in Caracas. Maturén, also a Venezuelan native, is a classically trained ballet dancer and a journalist. The Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra combined forces with the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela and the Orfeon Universitario of the Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado to make the event a special musical celebration. The wedding took place in the chapel at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Montalbán, a suburb of Caracas. They have a son, Martín Dudamel Maturén, a U.S. citizen. In March 2015, the couple filed papers for divorce.