Biography

Conductor

GUSTAVO DUDAMEL is driven by the belief that music has the power to transform lives, to inspire, and to change the world. Through his dynamic presence on the podium and his tireless advocacy for arts education, he has introduced classical music to new audiences around the globe and helped provide access to the arts for countless people in underserved communities. He is now in his thirteenth season as the Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and in April 2021, it was announced that he would join the Paris Opera as its next Music Director.

Mr. Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began violin lessons as a child but was drawn to conducting—at the age of thirteen put down his violin and picked up the baton when a youth orchestra conductor was running late. In 1999, at the age of eighteen, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, comprising graduates of the El Sistema program.

Following his US debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in 2005, he became the orchestra’s music director in 2009. Inspired by El Sistema, Mr. Dudamel, the LA Phil, and its community partners founded YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) in 2007, providing 1,300 young people with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support, and leadership training. In October 2021, YOLA opened its own permanent facility: the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, designed by architect Frank Gehry.

His extensive Grammy Award-winning discography numbers sixty-five releases, including recent Deutsche Grammophon LA Phil recordings of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the complete Charles Ives symphonies, and Andrew Norman’s Sustain. Recently, Mr. Dudamel conducted the score to Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of West Side Story, and he appears in a documentary on his life, to be released by Participant Media. He has also appeared in television shows including Mozart in the Jungle, Sesame Street, and The Simpsons. He made his San Francisco Symphony debut in 2007.

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