The world of classical music is buzzing with excitement thanks to an amazingly talented young conductor called Gustavo Dudamel. At just 27 years of age, he is schduled to become the conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, one of the best orchestra's in America, when the current conductor retires in 2009.
Born to a trombone player in Venezuela, Dudamel showed interest in music at a very young age. At five he was trying to read his father's music books and "conduct" his own orchestra, with his Lego dolls posing as audience.
His formal training began shortly when he was enrolled in Venezuela's amazing government sponsored program - The National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (also known as "El Sistema"). The program whose slogan is "Play and Fight" is geared to provide children from poor families the opportunity to learn classical music and musical instrument(s).
Gustavo started to learn the trombone, but his hands were too short, so instead ended up playing he violin, which he loved. His first love however was conducting an orchestra, something he started doing at the age of 12. By 17, he was leading the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, which is the best orchestra in the El Sistema program and includes its top 200 musicians, all aged between 14 to 25 years.
Dudamel first became known outside Venezuela when he took his orchestra on a European tour in 2003. Simon Rattle, the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic was so impressed, that he invited Dudamel to become his assistant in Berlin.
In 2004, Dudamel won the inaugural (first) Mahler competition for young conductors under the age of 35. He was only 23 then, but his performance was so strong that the LA Philharmonic Orchestra invited him for a guest appearance to LA. His performance at a summer concert at the Hollywood Bowl was an instant success and he soon became a regular conductor at the Disney Hall, where the Orchestra performs. When the present conductor of the LA Philharmonic decided to retire, Dudamel seemed like the perfect choice.
Everyone who has watched this amazing young man, talks about the endless energy and the zest with which he conducts music. He is the new rock star of classical music! We would love to hear what you think of him. Let us know by writing a comment below or directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the two videos below, the first one an interview with Gustavo and the second, the maestro in action conducting the "Mambo".