In a blow to the Los Angeles classical music world, renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel has been poached by the New York Philharmonic.
It was announced on Tuesday (7 February) that the Venezuelan will become the world famous orchestra’s music and artistic director, starting in 2026.
Dudamel, who is known not just for his rare talent, but for his charisma and intense energy, won’t be short of friends in the Big Apple though. He was hired by president of the New York Philharmonic, Deborah Borda, who took him on board as lead conductor at the LA equivalent in 2009.
42 year old Dudamel is also no stranger to his new workplace, having conducted 26 concerts in the east coast city, making his debut there when he was just 26 years of age.
He’s one of the most famous products of Venezuela’s network of musical schools, El Sistema. He also started a youth orchestra, YOLA, in 2007, which has helped 1,500 young people, providing them with free instruments and instruction.
Dudamel’s departure from Los Angeles marks a significant loss for the city and its orchestra. He has played a large part in building a cultural empire on the west coast and helped turn the Philharmonic into one of the most creative and financially successful examples in the entire country and wider world.
Industry experts say his appointment is a major coup for the New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States.
Only a decade ago, it was plagued with concerns about its future, with issues surrounding renovations of its home and its artistic direction.
However, its new headquarters, David Geffen Hall, has now reopened after a €545 million renovation, and in securing Dudamel, the New York icon is celebrating something of a renaissance.
At the New York Philharmonic, Dudamel will succeed Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden who is leaving after 6 years to join the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea.