Are critics misunderstanding what Dudamel means?

Posted on: May 27, 2010

Thursday (5/27) on her Washington Post blog Classical Beat, Anne Midgette writes, “I’ve been amused, and I’m not the only one, to read all of the critical backlash against Gustavo Dudamel on his recent American tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the discovery has been made that Dudamel does, in fact, has feet of clay. His conducting can be uneven, superficial, moment-to-moment. Each assessment stresses that this wouldn’t matter so much were it not that Dudamel is being billed as the future of classical music. Here’s the thing, though: Dudamel is not the future of classical music. He’s not even trying to be. … Dudamel’s whole training appears to have been about perpetuating the status quo—about the idea that leading an orchestra in standard repertoire is the highest thing to which a musician can aspire. … What he represents is a revivifying jolt of energy applied to the established model—something that’s sorely needed, and that’s wonderful to see. … Is he an orchestra builder? Not yet; the critics, including myself, have pointed out all of the LA players’ technical weaknesses. But his Pathetique, in Washington, sounded like the work of a conductor who has something to say, and I was willing to take the bumps on the way to hearing it.”

Posted May 27, 2010