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Густаво Дюдамель: Маленький большой человек (the Little Big Man)


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Triumphantly – that is how the day of a great conductor ends. Gustavo Dudamel, a 29-year old from Venezuela, is the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

At the Walt Disney Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, he recently conducted Turangalîla, the 20th century symphonic masterpiece by French composer Olivier Messiaen, a piece of extreme complexity.

"It's a work of music that reflects beauty and love, the transcendent power of happiness and love, there are these endless accords. It generates all kinds of feelings, and it's perfect for this hall because it conveys very modern, even 'modernist' colours, close and faraway colours, it has this sort of duality – it's wonderful to do!" he told us.

In fact, Gustavo Dudamel's day had started in a far less prestigious area than downtown LA. The area known as Rampart was central to his morning schedule: a meeting with the kids of 'Yola at Hola', the Youth Orchestra of LA at the Heart of Los Angeles.

It is a free music education programme modelled on the El Sistema movement, an extremely successful musical training project created in Venezuela 35 years ago, from which Dudamel himself emerged.

The objectives, as he explains, are the same: "To provide hope and a future, and give care and understanding to unprivileged kids who come from poor communities."

"The nicest thing is to see in the eyes of those kids that hope, that twinkle in their eyes that says 'we want more, and we want to build our life around what we're living out here now.'

"My life is music, for me it's like water, like food… you name it."

"For me, going to meet those kids this morning, is a total boost, it's like recharging my batteries – wow, it's great! And offering them more opportunities, and they offer me more opportunities, this whole interaction in what we do – well, this is life, and this is my life!"

Besides promoting 'the System' the world over, Maestro Dudamel is a regular guest of the world's Major orchestras.

There is no doubt his success is at least in part due to his charismatic talent, and also his infectious joy.

"I think I'm quite an easy person to live with," he says. "I'm an optimist and a really happy person! As for my private life, I don't think it could have been better.

"My wife and I live a very exciting artistic life, which we try to link to our private life, and this makes it real fun!"

INFO – In this story you can hear parts of Olivier Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony (Chant d'Amour I and Final).

Maestro Dudamel is embarking on a European Tour with the LA Philharmonic in January-February 2011. It will play in Lisbon, Madrid, Cologne, London, Budapest, Paris and Vienna.

Gustavo Dudamel is a Deutsche Grammophon artist.



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