New kid on the block going to Gothenburg

Gustavo Dudamel

“[Dudamel conducted a] blazing Mahler Fifth. From the opening trumpet fanfares, which he had painstakingly shaped in rehearsal, one sensed a real performance was in store. The huge orchestral eruption after the funeral march, frightening but superbly played and balanced, still reverberates in the mind. The Adagietto was ruminative yet pulsated, and the last movement was breathtaking in its exhilaration. Wherever Dudamel turns up next, it will be worth the voyage.” —— Financial Times, 13th May 2004

“In his US debut … a 24-year-old conductor from Venezuela with curly hair, long sideburns and a baby face accomplished something increasingly rare and difficult at the Hollywood Bowl. He got a normally restive audience’s full, immediate and rapt attention. And he kept it. With the opening bars of Silvestre Revueltas’ “La Noche de los Mayas,” the party sitting next to me put aside its just-opened giant bag of Cheetos and forgot about it until intermission. Once into this arresting depiction of a night of the Maya’s revelry and enchantment… the crowd clapped and whooped. That’s not just rare but a downright wonder at the Bowl on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s classical Tuesday and Thursday programs.” —— Los Angeles Times, 15th September 2005

“Venezuelan with a film-star look in his eyes and the physical stature of Paul Newman without heels, has been storming concert halls on scant rehearsal this past year as a last-minute substitute. He helped the Philharmonia out of a hole at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, deputised for Esa-Pekka Salonen and Zubin Mehta in Switzerland and Israel and went on air worldwide by stepping in for Neeme Järvi at the BBC Proms in a programme that included the Sibelius Fifth with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. He has a record deal with Deutsche Grammophon and two Beethoven symphonies in the can. He’s smart, he’s cute and, in case you’re getting interested, he has just married a ballet dancer, Eloisa Maturen. All the right moves, in just the right order, and backstory to break hardened hearts.” —— Norman Lebrecht, The Lebrecht Weekly, April 19 2006

This guy’s CV is nothing short of astonishing. He was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, and was appointed Musical Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in 1999 (at the ripe old age of 18!). In addition, he recently became Music Director of the Youth Orchestra of the Andean Countries.

In 2006/2007 Gustavo Dudamel will make his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has re-engagements with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Filharmonica della Scala, Bamberger Symphoniker, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra of London and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, of which he will become Principal Conductor from the 2007/08 season. Future plans also include concerts at the Lucerne Festival and at New York’s Carnegie Hall as part of the Berlin Philharmonic Residency under Sir Simon Rattle in 2007.

Has anyone else heard about this guy? The Deutsche Grammophon website has details of his debut recording, which is scheduled for release in September. If his talent lives up to his looks, I might even treat myself to a copy — even it is yet another recording of Beethoven’s 5th and 7th.

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