Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel.jpeg
Dudamel in 2012
Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez

(1981-01-26) 26 January 1981 (age 42)
Occupation(s)Conductor, violinist
Years active1999–present
(m. 2006; div. 2015)
(m. 2017)

Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez (born 26 January 1981) is a Venezuelan conductor and violinist who is the music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Paris Opera.

Early life

Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 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 José Luis Jiménez was among his violin teachers. He then went on to work with José Francisco del Castillo at the Latin-American Violin Academy.[citation needed]

Dudamel 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. He attended Charles Dutoit's master class in Buenos Aires in 2002, and worked as assistant for Simon Rattle in Berlin and Salzburg in 2003.[citation needed]



Dudamel won a number of competitions, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Germany in 2004.[2] His reputation began to spread, attracting the attention of conductors such as Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado, who accepted invitations to conduct the Simón Bolívar Orchestra in Veneite.[3] In April 2006 Dudamel was appointed as principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony for the 2007/2008 season.[4]

Dudamel made his debut at La Scala, Milan, with Don Giovanni in November 2006. On 10 September 2007, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the first time at the Lucerne Festival. On 16 April 2007 he conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall in a concert in commemoration of the 80th birthday of Pope Benedict XVI, with Hilary Hahn as solo violinist, with the Pope and many other Church dignitaries among the audience.[5]

In 2011, he featured in the documentary Dudamel, Let the Children Play directed by the Venezuelan filmmaker Alberto Arvelo.[6]

In 2013, Dudamel conducted the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra during the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Dudamel continues to retain his position with the Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra.[7] In April 2014 Dudamel returned to conduct with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, as its honorary conductor, for concerts in the orchestra's home city and on tour in France, Switzerland, and Italy.[8]

In 2015, Dudamel conducted both the opening and end titles, at the behest of famed film composer John Williams, for the official motion picture soundtrack and film of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At the 2016 Super Bowl, Dudamel and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) accompanied Coldplay and sang along with Chris Martin, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.

On 1 January 2017, Dudamel conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in their traditional New Year's Day Concert; at the age of only 35, he is the youngest guest conductor in history to lead this event. In December 2018, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, conducting Verdi's Otello.[9]

Dudamel served as the 2018–2019 artist-in-residence at Princeton University in celebration of Princeton University Concerts' 125th anniversary.[10][11] This engagement included cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural panels & discussions, chamber concerts featuring musicians from his associated orchestras (the Met, LA, & Berlin),[12] and in April 2019, Dudamel conducted the Princeton University Orchestra and the Princeton University Glee Club as the culmination of his year-long residency.[13]

In the summer of 2019, Dudamel conducted the orchestra during the recording sessions for Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of West Side Story, set for release on 10 December 2021.[14]

Dudamel first guest-conducted at the Opéra national de Paris in 2017. In April 2021, the Opéra National de Paris announced the appointment of Dudamel as its next music director, effective 1 August 2021, with an initial contract of six seasons.[15][16]

Music director, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dudamel made his US conducting debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LAP) at the Hollywood Bowl on 13 September 2005 in a program consisting of "La Noche de los Mayas" by Silvestre Revueltas and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.[17] Dudamel was subsequently invited back to conduct the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January 2007 in performances of "Dances of Galánta" by Zoltán Kodály, the third piano concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman as soloist, and Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra (the latter of which was recorded live and subsequently released by Deutsche Grammophon).

In April 2007, the LAP announced the appointment of Dudamel as its next music director, effective with the 2009–2010 season. His initial contract in Los Angeles was for five years, beginning in September 2009.[18][19][20] In February 2011, the orchestra announced the extension of Dudamel's contract through the end of the 2018–2019 season.[21] In March 2015, the orchestra announced a further extension of his Los Angeles Philharmonic contract through the 2021–2022 season.[22] His most recent LAP contract extension, announced in January 2020, is through the 2025-2026 season.[23]

Music director, New York Philharmonic

In February 2023, Dudamel announced he would be leaving the LAP at the conclusion of the 2025-2026 season to become the music director of the New York Philharmonic.[24] "Dudamel will remain music director of the Opera de Paris and will maintain his main residence in Barcelona."[25]

Awards and media

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 Dudamel was on 60 Minutes in February 2008, entitled "Gustavo the Great."

On 23 July 2009, Dudamel was selected by the Eighth Glenn Gould Prize laureate José Antonio Abreu as winner of the prestigious The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.

Dudamel was named one of Times Magazine’s most influential 100 people in 2010.[26]

Dudamel is featured in the 2011 documentary Let the Children Play, a film which focuses on his work advocating for music as a way to enrich children's lives.[27]

Gramophone named Dudamel its 2011 Gramophone Artist of the Year. Also in 2011, he was inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In February 2012, Dudamel won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, for his recording of Brahms Symphony No. 4 for the label Deutsche Grammophon.[28][29] In 2013, Dudamel was named Musical America's Musician of the Year and was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.[30] The LAP's continued commitment to innovation and new music under the direction of Dudamel and Borda prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to name LAP "the most creative, and, therefore, the best orchestra in America."[31] Dudamel received the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School in 2014 and the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016.

The character of Rodrigo in Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle was based, in part, on Dudamel. Rodrigo is also curly-haired, Latin American, very young, and usually referred to only by his first name.[32] In the first episode of the show's second season, in which Rodrigo appears as a guest conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel appears as a guest actor, playing the part of a stage manager.

In June 2018, Dudamel received Chile's Pablo Neruda Order of Artistic and Cultural Merit.[33] Also in June, the Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts (VAEA) awarded Dudamel the Paez Medal of Art 2018.[34]

Dudamel is featured as the name of an achievement in the game A Rite from the Stars, released on 19 July 2018. The player gets it for solving a music puzzle in less than 14 seconds.[35]

In August 2018, Dudamel announced plans for the LA Phil's 2018/2019 centennial season, including an unprecedented 50 commissions of new music and a Frank Gehry-designed permanent home for Dudamel's YOLA youth orchestra.

On 18 October 2018, it was announced that Dudamel would become the 25th recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize[36][37]

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 22 January 2019. In his speech accepting it, he said that it should belong to Venezuela, the country he is from, and that "tomorrow [23 Jan. 2019] is a crucial day [and] the voice of the masses must be heard and respected", referring to the planned national protest on that date and the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis.[38]

At the 64th Annual Grammy Awards the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance was given to the Dudamel-conducted 2019 recording of Symphony No. 8 (Mahler).

Personal life

Dudamel has been married twice. His first marriage, in 2006, was to Eloísa Maturén in Caracas. Maturén, also a Venezuelan native, is a classically trained ballet dancer and a journalist. The two had a son, Martín Dudamel Maturén, on 1 April 2011.[39] In March 2015, Dudamel and Maturén filed papers for divorce.[22] In February 2017, Dudamel secretly married Spanish actress María Valverde, whom he had first met in 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.[40] He became a Spanish citizen in 2018.[41]
















  1. ^ Reed Johnson (23 November 2008). "Conductor Gustavo Dudamel rides a wave of Dudamania". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  2. ^ Sue Steward (23 February 2006). "He's astonishingly gifted". Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  3. ^ "Dudamel förnyar kontrakt med Göteborgs Symfoniker till 2012". Göteborgs Symfoniker. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  4. ^ Vivien Schweitzer (13 April 2006). "Gustavo Dudamel Appointed Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  5. ^ Nicole Winfield (16 April 2007). "Pope marks 80th birthday with concert". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Dudamel: Let the Children Play". National Cine Media. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  7. ^ Richard Morrison (15 February 2007). "True class: South America's lightning conductor". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  8. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel Returns to Conduct Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden and on European Tour".
  9. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel makes his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Verdi’s Othello on December 14", Metropolitan Opera, 12 November 2018
  10. ^ "Biography – Gustavo Dudamel". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  11. ^ Cooper, Michael (12 December 2018). "Gustavo Dudamel's Favorite Part of 'Otello' Is a Quiet Prayer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel Residency 2018/19" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Dudamel in Residence". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  14. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (17 May 2019). "Jeanine Tesori and Gustavo Dudamel Join Music Staff of Spielberg-Helmed West Side Story Movie". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc.
  15. ^ "Appointment of Music Director: Gustavo Dudamel" (Press release). Opéra national de Paris. 16 April 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Paris Opera names Venezuela's Dudamel as next music chief". RFI. 16 April 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  17. ^ Mark Swed (15 September 2005). "He holds Bowl in palm of his hands; Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, 24, commands attention". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Mark Swed (8 April 2007). "Maestro will pass baton to up-and-comer in '09". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  19. ^ Matthew Westphal (8 April 2007). "Gustavo Dudamel to Succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen at LA Philharmonic in 2009". Playbill Arts. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007.
  20. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (9 April 2007). "Maestro of Los Angeles Philharmonic to Pass the Baton to a Wunderkind". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  21. ^ David Ng (3 February 2011). "Gustavo Dudamel extends contract with L.A. Philharmonic through 2018–19 season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  22. ^ a b Jeffrey Fleishman; Mike Boehm; David Ng (27 March 2015). "Gustavo Dudamel's L.A. Phil deal reverberates across classical music world". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  23. ^ Jessica Gelt (15 January 2020). "Gustavo Dudamel extends his L.A. Phil contract through 2025-26". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  24. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (7 February 2023). "Gustavo Dudamel, Star Maestro, to Leave L.A. for New York Philharmonic". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 February 2023.
  26. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel: 10 facts about the great conductor". CLASSICFM. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  27. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel Comes to the Big Screen / News / News / All Things Strings". 9 June 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  28. ^ Tilden, Imogen (6 October 2011). "Gustavo Dudamel named artist of the year at Gramophone awards". The Guardian.
  29. ^ "Grammy Awards 2012: Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Philharmonic win". Los Angeles Times. 12 February 2012.
  30. ^ Boehm, Mike (7 November 2012). "Gustavo Dudamel named musician of the year by Musical America". Los Angeles Times.
  31. ^ Ross, Alex (18 June 2012). "Sacred Dissonance". The New Yorker.
  32. ^ Ng, David (10 February 2014). "'Mozart in the Jungle': Is 'Rodrigo' a parody of Gustavo Dudamel?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  33. ^ Troncoso M., Constanza (24 June 2018). "Gustavo Dudamel recibe Orden al Mérito Pablo Neruda: El maestro venezolano está en Chile para honrar a su mentor" [Gustavo Dudamel Receives Pablo Neruda Order of Merit: The Venezuelan Teacher is in Chile to Honor His Mentor]. El Mercurio (in Spanish). Santiago. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel is the recipient of VAEA's Paez Medal of Art 2018". VAEA. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Global Gameplay Stats A Rite from the Stars". Steam. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  36. ^ ""Superstar Conductor" Gustavo Dudamel to Receive The 25th Annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize". The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  37. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel to receive Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for his work in the arts". Los Angeles Times. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  38. ^ ""Mañana #23E es un día crucial", dice Dudamel tras recibir estrella en el Paseo de la Fama". Efecto Cocuyo (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  39. ^ "LA Phil's Gustavo Dudamel, Wife Welcome First Child". CBS Los Angeles. CBS Local Media. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  40. ^ "María Valverde se casa con el director de orquesta Gustavo Dudamel". El País. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  41. ^ "Gustavo Dudamel y Andrés Pastrana adoptan la nacionalidad española". Iberoeconomía. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  42. ^ "Dvořák: Symphonies Nos. 7-9 by Los Angeles Philharmonic & Gustavo Dudamel".

Further reading