New York Philharmonic introduces new conductor, visionary Gustavo Dudamel
NEW YORK -- A new era has begun for the New York Philharmonic. Famed Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel is beginning a five-year contract that brings him to New York from the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The moment Dudamel picks up his baton, we know to expect exuberance and joy. The conductor, who is known as a rock star and visionary in the classical music world, has made a celebrated move from the West Coast to the East Coast.
"I think when I come now in May it will feel like family," Dudamel said.
The 42-year-old said he was introduced to music in his native Venezuela, and credits a program for kids there called "El Sistema," using music to enhance lives young lives.
It shaped the way he sees music, "as a real tool of social transformation," he said, adding, "Giving opportunity the young people, the children, to have access to music, especially from disadvantaged communities."
The experts say the economics for orchestras worldwide keep deteriorating, but what is expected to make a difference here is this maestro who knows how to connect old, young, classical and pop.
Dudamel performed for Pope Benedict XVI, at the Super Bowl, and more recently he conducted the soundtrack for the latest film adaptation "West Side Story."
He also appeared with pop star Billie Eilish at the Hollywood Bowl. He is referenced several times in the movie "Tar," starring Cate Blanchett.
"He's definitely one of the most exciting out there," musician Wilson Childers said. "The energy and the life he brings to the orchestra is something really special."
"He treats it as a passion, so we're really lucky to have him coming to New York," Upper West Side resident David Puchkoff said.
"Music that we're playing is happening right now. It's not anymore from that time before. It is a music from this time," Dudamel said.
Dudamel is the first Latino to head the New York Philharmonic since its was founded in 1842.
While here, Dudamel retains the title of music director of the Paris Opera, a role he has held since 2021, and of Venezuela's Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, a position he took in 1999.
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