Gustavo Dudamel’s LA Phil tenure: a five-year appraisal

Posted on: October 29, 2014

In Sunday’s (10/26) Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed considers Gustavo Dudamel’s five years as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. At his 2009 debut, the “bushy-haired 28-year-old with a magnetic podium presence … galvanized the classical music world and beyond. At the Venezuelan conductor’s insistence, the gates of the Hollywood Bowl were thrown open to the community…. The Dude, as he was affectionately called, spread the joy of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ as easily as if it were jam on bread.… What was Dudamel’s capacity for growth? … First and probably foremost has been his residency in L.A., where he has been given permission to take chances and learn from his mistakes.… By now his commitment to new music is such that the L.A. Phil far out-numbers any other nonspecialist ensemble in its commitment to living composers.” Venezuela, whose politics “have made life difficult” for him, “has nurtured Dudamel’s maturity in another way…. Finally, there has been Dudamel’s rapid acquisition of European sophistication.” In his residency with the Vienna Philharmonic, Dudamel found the orchestra’s “creamy essence, as though he were an inventive sonic chef bringing out natural ingredients of the Viennese sound in ways no one else has thought to do.” 

Posted October 29, 2014

 

Pictured: Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Photo by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times