January 26, 1981 - Barquisimeto, Venezuela
Gustavo Dudamel © Nohely Oliveros
Gustavo Dudamel is driven by the belief that music has the power to transform lives, to inspire, and to change the world. Through his dynamic presence on the podium and his tireless advocacy for arts education, Dudamel has introduced classical music to new audiences around the world and has helped to provide access to the arts for countless people in underserved communities. As the Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, now in his twelfth season, Dudamel’s bold programming and expansive vision led The New York Times to herald the LA Phil as “the most important orchestra in America – period.”
Over the course of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Dudamel has committed even more time and energy to his mission of bringing music to people across the globe, firm in his conviction that the arts play an essential role in creating a more just, peaceful, and integrated society. A landmark event was the highly-anticipated launch of Symphony, a touring virtual reality project in collaboration with “la Caixa” Foundation that features Dudamel and 101 musicians from 22 countries in a state-of-the-art immersive VR film experience. The free touring exhibition, housed in two mobile pop-up cinemas, launched in Barcelona and will travel to hundreds of towns across Spain and Portugal in order to allow tens of thousands of people to have access to the power of symphonic music.
Dudamel also gave in-person performances with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and made his debut at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu in performances of Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Otello. In June and July 2021, Dudamel will lead the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Orquestra del Encuentro at the 37th International Music Festival of the Canary Islands, part of the Dudamel Foundation’s Encuentros España project.
In April 2021, it was announced that Dudamel would join the Paris Opera as its next Music Director, for six seasons beginning in August 2021. Dudamel has led more than 30 staged, semi-staged, and concertante productions across the world’s major stages, including five staged productions with Teatro alla Scala, productions at the Berlin and Vienna State Operas, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and thirteen operas in Los Angeles, with repertoire ranging from Così fan tutte to Carmen, from Otello to Tannhäuser, from West Side Story to contemporary operas by composers like John Adams and Oliver Knussen. As part of his inaugural season as Music Director of the Paris Opera, in Fall 2021 Dudamel will conduct performances of Puccini’s Turandotand Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
Following his U.S. debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in 2005, Dudamel became the orchestra’s music director starting in the 2009/10 season and under his direction the LA Phil has secured its place as one of the leading orchestras in the world. Inspired by El Sistema, Dudamel, the LA Phil and its community partners founded YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) in 2007, providing 1,300 young people with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support, and leadership training. In the 2020/21 season, YOLA is planning to open its own permanent, purpose-built facility: The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, designed by architect Frank Gehry.
Dudamel’s advocacy for the power of music to unite, heal, and inspire is global in scope. Inspired by his transformative experience as a youth in Venezuela’s immersive musical training program El Sistema, he created The Dudamel Foundation in 2012 with the goal “to expand access to music and the arts by providing tools and opportunities for young people to shape their creative futures.”
One of the few classical musicians to become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, Dudamel will conduct the score to Bernstein’s iconic score for Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of West Side Story, and will star as the subject of a documentary on his life, to be released by Participant Media. He guest conducted the opening and closing credits of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, voiced the character of Trollzart in the DreamWorks animated feature Trolls World Tour, and had cameos on Mozart in the Jungle, Sesame Street, The Simpsons, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. he performed with the LA Phil at the 2019 Academy Awards®, the 2016 Super Bowl half-time show (a first for a classical musician), and in 2019 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His extensive, multiple-Grammy Award®-winning discography includes 57 releases, including recent Deutsche Grammophon LA Phil recordings of the complete Charles Ives symphonies and Andrew Norman’s Sustain(both of which won the Grammy Award® for Best Orchestral Performance).
Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. In 1999, at the age of 18, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and gained international attention when he won the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition in 2004. Dudamel went on to become the music director of the Gothenburg Symphony (2007–2012), where he now holds the title of Honorary Conductor. Among his many honors, he has received Spain’s 2020 Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, the 2019 Konex Foundation Classical Music Award, Distinguished Artist Award from the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), the Gish Prize, the Paez Medal of Art, the Pablo Neruda Order of Artistic and Cultural Merit in 2018, the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in 2016, and the 2014 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society from the Longy School of Music. He was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009. In 2016, Dudamel delivered the keynote speech for recipients of the National Medal of Art and National Humanities Medal.