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, Dudamel has introduced classical music to new audiences around the globe and has helped provide access to the arts for countless people in underserved communities. He currently serves as the Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and in 2026, he becomes the Music and Artistic Director of the New York Philharmonic, continuing a legacy that includes Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein.
Dudamel’s bold programming and expansive vision led The New York Times to herald the LA Phil as “the most important orchestra in America—period.” In the 2023/24 season, Dudamel and the LA Phil celebrated the legacy of architect Frank Gehry on the 20th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall’s opening with a Gala event and an acclaimed production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, directed by Alberto Arvelo with set designs by Gehry. The LA Phil also partnered with the San Francisco Symphony and the San Diego Symphony for the inaugural California Festival, a celebration of the state’s collaborative and innovative spirit, with more than 90 organizations participating throughout California. Dudamel continues his exploration of opera with the revival of the LA Phil’s ground-breaking production of Beethoven’s Fidelio in partnership with Deaf West Theatre and Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir) of Venezuela, with performances in Los Angeles followed by an international tour to London, Paris, and Barcelona in the Spring of 2024. As part of Carnegie Hall’s World Orchestra Week celebrating international youth orchestras, Dudamel returns to New York in August 2024 to lead the National Children’s Symphony of Venezuela in a program that includes John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine along with Estevez’s Mediodía en el llano, Ginastera’s “Four Dances” from Estancia, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Dudamel and the National Children’s Symphony of Venezuela will also tour the program throughout the United States throughout August 2024.
During the 2024 Hollywood Bowl season, Dudamel will lead the LA Phil in performances of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 with pianist Yunchan Lim, an evening of music from the Marvel cinematic universe, two performances with brother-sister pianists Sergio Tiempo and Karin Lechner in Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals and mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb singing scenes from Carmen, and a program with 18-time Latin GRAMMY® winner Natalia Lafourcade singing music from her critically acclaimed De Todas las Flores. Dudamel will also conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, before closing the season with a star-studded evening of opera duets and arias, with soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Jonas Kaufmann.
Dudamel’s advocacy for the power of music to unite, heal, and inspire is global in scope. Inspired by his transformative experience as a youth in Venezuela’s immersive musical training program, El Sistema, Dudamel, the LA Phil, and its community partners in 2007 founded Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which now provides 1,500 young people with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support, and leadership training. In 2021, YOLA opened its first permanent, purpose-built facility: the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, designed by architect Frank Gehry. In 2012, Dudamel launched The Dudamel Foundation, which he co-chairs with his wife, actress and director María Valverde, with the goal of expanding “access to music and the arts for young people by providing tools and opportunities to shape their creative futures.” In 2017, he formed the “Orchestra of the Future,” made up of young people representing five continents and more than a dozen countries, around the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Sweden, where he also delivered a lecture on the unity of the arts and sciences. His 2018 “Americas” tour with the Vienna Philharmonic marked his first Encuentros program in Mexico City, which celebrated the symbolic union of a “United Americas,” a bridge Dudamel further strengthened with an LA Phil residency there in 2019. In 2021, The Dudamel Foundation presented its first European Encuentros in Spain as a way to explore cultural unity and celebrate harmony, equality, dignity, beauty, and respect through music. In 2022, Dudamel conducted the LA Phil and a star-studded cast in a new production of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, produced in collaboration with Los Angeles’ Tony ® Award-winning Deaf West Theatre, Deaf performers of El Sistema Venezuela’s White Hands Choir, and The Dudamel Foundation. The Dudamel Foundation also brought its Encuentros initiative to the Hollywood Bowl as part of the venue’s 100th anniversary season, in a two-week intensive global leadership and orchestral training program for young musicians from around the world, culminating in a concert at the Bowl and a tour with the Orquesta del Encuentros to the legendary Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California.
One of the few classical musicians to become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, Dudamel conducted the score to Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and starred as the subject of a documentary on his life, ¡Viva Maestro!, released by Participant Media. He voiced the character of Trollzart in the DreamWorks animated feature Trolls World Tour and appeared in Amazon Studios’ award-winning comedy series Mozart in the Jungle, as well as in Sesame Street, The Simpsons, and Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, for which he also recorded the score. At Williams’s personal request, he guest conducted the opening and closing credits of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and performed with the LA Phil at the 2019 Academy Awards®. Dudamel has also performed with music icons such as Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Gwen Stefani, Nas, and Tyler, the Creator, and he led the LA Phil alongside international superstar Billie Eilish and FINNEAS as part of the concert film experience Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles, released on Disney+. It was a first for a classical musician when Dudamel, together with members of YOLA, participated in the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show alongside pop stars Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars. In 2019, Dudamel was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joining Hollywood greats as well as such musical luminaries as Bernstein, Ellington, and Toscanini.
Dudamel’s extensive, multiple-GRAMMY® Award-winning discography includes 67 releases, with recent releases including Nonesuch’s recording of Thomas Adès’s Dante with the LA Phil, which won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Fandango, Dudamel and the LA Phil’s first release on the innovative Platoon label with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, was also nominated for several GRAMMY® Awards. Other recent releases include Deutsche Grammophon LA Phil recordings of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, which won the GRAMMY® for Best Choral Performance, and the complete Charles Ives symphonies and Andrew Norman’s Sustain, which both won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Sony Classical released audio and video recordings of Dudamel’s Sommernachtskonzert 2019 with the Vienna Philharmonic, following their 2017 New Year’s concert recording, where he was the youngest conductor in history to lead the famous annual performance. He has made several acclaimed recordings with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, including the soundtrack to the feature film Libertador about the life of Bolívar—for which Dudamel composed the score, and digital releases of all nine Beethoven symphonies, which were also released in video form on his YouTube channel free to the public for the first time. In January 2024, Dudamel released video footage from his 2021 performance of Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Spain’s Burgos Cathedral for free on his YouTube channel.
In February 2023, the New York Philharmonic announced that Gustavo Dudamel would become the orchestra’s Music and Artistic Director, beginning in the 2026/27 season, after serving as Music Director Designate in 2025/26. Dudamel’s relationship with the orchestra began with his NY Phil debut in 2007 (when he conducted works by Dvořák, Prokofiev, and Chávez) and continued through 2009 performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, 2022’s The Schumann Connection—two weeks featuring the Romantic composer’s symphonic cycle coupled with premieres by Gabriela Ortiz and Andreia Pinto-Correia—and 2023’s acclaimed performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. In April 2024, Dudamel will return to the NY Phil for a weeklong celebration of music education marking the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s beloved Young People’s Concerts. The centerpiece of this week is the Spring Gala, where Dudamel will conduct the orchestra with special guests Common, soprano Hera Hyesang Park, and guitarist and former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams.
Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. His father was a trombonist and his mother a voice teacher, and he grew up listening to music and conducting his toys to old recordings. He began violin lessons as a child but was drawn to conducting from an early age. At the age of 13, as a member of his youth orchestra, he put down his violin and picked up the baton when the conductor was running late. A natural, he began studying conducting with Rodolfo Saglimbeni. In 1996, he was named Music Director of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, where his talent was spotted by José Antonio Abreu, who would become his mentor. In 1999, at the age of 18, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, composed of graduates of the El Sistema program. Dudamel gained international attention when he won the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition in 2004. He went on to become Music Director of the Gothenburg Symphony (2007–2012), where he now holds the title of Honorary Conductor. Dudamel’s talent was widely recognized, notably by other prominent conductors of the day, but it was the Los Angeles Philharmonic that took the initiative to sign the 27-year-old Dudamel as Music Director in 2009. Dudamel also held the position of Music Director of the Paris Opera from 2021 to 2023, leading acclaimed productions of Puccini’s Turandot and Tosca, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and John Adams’ Nixon in China, adding to an extensive operatic résumé that includes more than 30 staged, semi-staged, and concert productions around the world, including at Teatro alla Scala, the Berlin and Vienna State Operas, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the LA Phil, with repertoire ranging from Così fan tutte to Carmen, from Otello to Tannhäuser, and from West Side Story to contemporary operas by composers like John Adams and Oliver Knussen.
Dudamel has become one of the most decorated conductors of his generation. Among his many honors, he has received Spain’s 2020 Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, the 2019 Konex Foundation Classical Music Award, the 2019 Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, the Páez Medal of Art, and the Pablo Neruda Order of Artistic and Cultural Merit in 2018, the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016, the 2014 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School of Music, and the Medal of the University of Burgos, Spain, in 2021. Leading publications such as Musical America and Gramophone have named him their artist of the year. Dudamel has received honorary doctorates from the Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado in his hometown and also from the University of Gothenburg and the Colburn School. He was inducted into l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres as a Chevalier in Paris in 2009. The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela was awarded Spain’s prestigious annual Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2008. Dudamel was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009. In 2016, he delivered the keynote speech for recipients of the National Medal of Art and National Humanities Medal.
For more information about Gustavo Dudamel, visit his official website at gustavodudamel.com and Dudamel Foundation at dudamelfoundation.org
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