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Welcome, Gustavo Dudamel ~ LA Phil

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Next month, 28 year old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel takes over as the maestro of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in what promises to be the most exciting infusion of young talent into the city's premier orchestra in its history. Who is Gustavo? Read this interview in the LAT Magazine for some insights into who he is and what he hopes to do in LA. Let's turn to old pal Wikipedia to learn more about Dudamel:

Dudamel is the son of a trombonist and a voice teacher.[1] 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 he was taught the violin by José Luis Jiménez. He then went on to work with José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin-American Violin Academy.

He 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.

Dudamel began to win a number of conducting competitions, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Prize in Germany in 2004. His reputation began to spread, and he was noticed by conductors such as Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado , who accepted invitations to conduct the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Venezuela.

Dudamel debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others, in 2005, and also signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. In 2006, his additional guest conducting appearances included concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He 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. In March 2008, he made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony and in May 2009 he will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

In 2005, Dudamel first conducted the Gothenburg Symphony at the BBC Proms, on short notice as a replacement for the indisposed Neeme Järvi. In 2006, Dudamel was named Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony.[6] He continues to retain his position with the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra. He took up the Gothenburg post in 2007, and his current contract there is to 2011.

Dudamel made his U.S. 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 Galanta" by Zoltan Kodaly, the third piano concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and Bela Bartok'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 is for five years, beginning in September 2009.

On April 16, 2007, Gustavo Dudamel 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 himself and many other church dignitaries among the audience. On May, 2007, Gustavo Dudamel and his Youth Symphony Orchestra and choirs played an astonishing version of National Anthem of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the venezuelan TV channel TVEs, 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 was on 60 Minutes in February 2008, titled "Gustavo the Great".

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