Maestro stays: Dude renews in LA, ruling out Berlin

Maestro stays: Dude renews in LA, ruling out Berlin


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2015

Gustavo Dudamel has committed himself to the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a further three years, taking him to 2022 and sending a clear signal to Berlin (as Yannick Nézet-Seguin has done) that he’s not interested in the once-glittering prize.

Dude has a difficult divorce on his hands and may need to stay put for personal reasons.

Press announcement follows.

dude in shanghai

pictured yesterday in Shanghai, l-r: Mark Newbanks (Dude’s agent), Borda, Dudamel

Los Angeles, CA (March 27, 2015) – Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board Chair Diane B. Paul and President/Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda today announced a contract extension for Gustavo Dudamel through the 2021/22 season. In recognition of Dudamel’s deepened commitment to the institution, Artistic Director is being added to his current title, making him Music Director & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, effective immediately.  His original contract as Music Director commenced in the 2009/10 season for a 5-year term and was extended in March 2011 to run through the 2018/19 centennial season. Today’s announcement was made from Tokyo during the orchestra’s first tour of Asia under Dudamel.


Diane Paul commented, “In Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has a great treasure.  In addition to his dynamic artistic leadership, he continues to expand YOLA, one of the great hallmarks of his tenure, modeled on the inspirational work of Jose Antonio Abreu. On behalf of the Board, it gives me enormous joy to know that we will continue to share the treasure we have in Gustavo with Los Angeles and beyond for at least the next seven years.”


Los Angeles Philharmonic Association President and Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Presidential Chair Deborah Borda added, “Gustavo’s passionate leadership has instilled a new sense of possibility among our musicians, our audiences, and our community.  His all-embracing vision propels us forward to the LA Phil’s centenary celebration and beyond, and exemplifies the institution’s commitment to innovation and access for all.”


Chairman of the Orchestra Committee Barry Gold stated, “We are absolutely thrilled that he will be our Music Director & Artistic Director through the 2021/22 season. The immediate camaraderie and respect from the beginning between Gustavo and the musicians has continued to grow over our years together, resulting in incredible music making. This is great news for all of us at the LA Phil.”

Dudamel observed, “It has been ten years now since my debut in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and my love for both orchestra and city has grown in depth and in intensity over this decade. We have an unparalleled situation in the world of classical music today: great musicians, a strong community base, a healthy organization with amazing administrative leadership, a hugely supportive board, innovative and game-changing educational programs, two iconic venues, and a growing shared history of musical performances. Conducting in the ‘City of Angels’ is a magical experience, and I owe so much to so many Angels and Angelenos.  As I look to the future and how I want to focus my work, it’s become clear that it is about a deepening of commitments to my two musical families – my beloved El Sistema, and this great orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic.”


  • Daniel Farber says:

    Not to mention the possibility that the Met Opera, if they last, is “grooming” Yannick to replace Levine. Next year he starts their season with a Levine speciality, Verdi’s Otello. And next year Levine is guest conducting in Philadelphia. Will this be a one-for-one swap?

  • enemigopublico says:

    Wise move – ruling himself out in order to avoid being overlooked.

  • MacroV says:

    It’s generally the practice that the Berlin Phil director doesn’t have a second job (at least with Rattle and Abbado), but presumably it could be done. And for all the LAPO’s innovation, where is THEIR Digital Concert Hall?

    • MacroV says:

      Just making the point that while Mr. Lebrecht may suggest that the Berlin Phil is somehow a tarnished jewel, they’re still out there on the cutting edge, doing things (like the DCH) that other orchestras can’t do.

    • Harry Kirschner says:

      The LA Phil tried live broadcasts to theatres for a year or two. It did not draw as expected. The Digital Concert Hall is tough to replicate. Credit Berlin for doing it so well.

  • Andrew R. Barnard says:

    It is a wise move for Dudamel, especially since he was unlikely to get the job anyway. But to suggest, as Norman does, that the job is merely “once-glittering”, is a bit silly.

  • william ford says:

    Isn’t it fun to refer to Maestro Dudamel as “Dude” or “The Dude”? Its like being a teenager again.

    • enemigopublico says:

      Isn’t it fun to refer to Gustavo Dudamel as ‘Maestro’, as though he were some sort of superior being worthy of adulation? As though he were a master and we his subjects?

      • Hernan says:

        Stupid comment. Dudamel is a genius, and you are not. He deserves the title more than anyone else. You sound like a disgruntled Venezuelan who hates Maestro Dudamel because he supports Bolivarian Revolution that has almost eliminated extreme deprivation something that is rising in the US.

    • William Safford says:

      The dude abides.

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Not surprised he’s staying in LA for personal reasons. But the NY Phil would have been the perfect match, not Berlin. He could have been the next Lenny.

  • Greg says:

    Remember that Abbado was at the Vienna State Opera when he also took Berlin. Karajan also had Vienna State Opera, Berlin, and Philharmonia all at once for short time. Later Karajan only had Berlin. Dudamel could do both but the distance between Berlin and Vienna is shorter. I’m not sure Dudamel is ready this time. Better for Bychkov to get it. I could see Dudamel getting and taking Berlin in 10-12 years.

  • Papageno says:

    Dudamel has too much of a sweet deal in Los Angeles to want to leave (that and the Berliners would never offer him the post anyway). Hell, they ferry the Bolivars into our neck of the woods every other season, and Dude gets carte blanche in this town. I’ve also heard people walking out of Disney Hall giddily exclaiming that he’s the greatest conductor alive, so the board seems to understand that he’s a hype-driven cash cow for audiences.

    That said, Mariss Jansons is the perfect choice for Berlin. He’s feeling good, and his time with the BRSO is over in 2018.

  • Greg says:

    Dudamel could do more one post, as Abbado and Karajan did. That said maybe in 10-15 years. Bychkov would be excellent.

  • Milka says:

    Dudamel is not a LA celebrity because he is a great conductor- he is there for other
    obvious reasons ….and milks it for all it is worth .

    • Lisa says:

      You have obviously never been to his concerts or understood the rapport he has with his audiences worldwide. I am thankful to be alive in the time of Gustavo Dudamel and treasure him as our city’s conductor and one of the greatest conductors of our time.