Breaking: Dudamel signs

Breaking: Dudamel signs


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2020

Gustavo Dudamel today extended his contract with the Los Angeles Philharmonic by another four years to 2026.

He has been there since 2009.

He’s conducting the New York Philharmonic this week. Any further discussions will have to be iced.

Dudamel said, ‘Looking back at the first decade in Los Angeles with my orchestra makes me indescribably happy. I am full of expectation and energy as we open the next chapter of our artistic partnership, and I thank the Board of Directors for its continued trust in my vision for the organization.
‘I’m so proud of our legacy in education, especially the establishment and continued growth of YOLA. The shared passion of the entire community to nurture the next generation of music makers is both deeply moving and profoundly important. I also remain committed to connecting our rich civic heritage ever more closely to our programming, community work, and concert performances in our homes, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and now The Ford.
‘We have a unique opportunity and responsibility in Los Angeles to unite the soul of the Americas, to build and to strengthen musical and educational bridges with our brothers and sisters here in L.A. and beyond. We have so much work still to do, but I look forward to embracing the challenges ahead and to sharing more beautiful moments together, hand in hand with my extraordinary orchestra and our leadership team.’


  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Overhyped and overrated.

    • MacroV says:

      Well, apparently a lot of good orchestras who have a choice in the matter still invite him to conduct them. And LA seems to be doing interesting and novel work, so…

    • Barry Guerrrerof says:

      Overhyped? Perhaps. Overrated? I don’t agree. I’ve seen him a few times with the L.A. Phil. and I think he’s doing an outstanding job with them. The orchestra itself is playing at a very high level, so there is definitely some commitment there. Perhaps the new contract shouldn’t extend quite as far as 2026, but you could easily end up with someone not as good. If you’re looking for ‘new’ interpretative insights, then sure – Dudamel is not your dude.

      If you’re content with tried and true ‘interpretations’ (hate that word) that work, played at an exceedingly high level of execution, then it would be difficult to do much better. Consider what an incredibly mature recording of Mahler 9 he has made at such a relatively early age.

    • Pacer1 says:

      Oh, have you worked with him?

    • M2N2K says:

      By whom?

    • Balanced Critic says:

      To his credit, he’s getting better with age. I watched a concert of him last summer and he’s now much better overall. So… to watch I guess??!! Lol

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Yes, he “got into the bigtime” rather young, and perhaps before he is ready. But most people think he is growing into his role as one of the leading conductors. Lets hope he continues to develop.

    • M2N2K says:

      It is puzzling to me that my question above here got several thumbs down. What is wrong in asking a simple honest question? If you think that the answer is obvious, then by all means share it with other readers. The comment at the top of this thread did not specify to which particular “hype” and “rating” it was referring, thus making my question a natural reaction to it. In my opinion, “hype” is by definition something that is not worthy of any attention by knowledgeable and reasonable people. As for “rating”, every prominent musician has always been “overrated” by some while “underrated” by others (that is, if any precise rating is even possible in the arts), and Gustavo Dudamel is certainly no exception.

  • It’s a good union for the both sides. Dudamel has made a fantastic work and helped the LA Phil to be more popular in Europe. But they will have to take care to avoid the routine when a relationship is too long… Some artistic directors don’t want to stay more than 12 years at the same place.

  • Doug says:

    OT, but you might want to pay attention to this: John Williams is the newest target of Cancel Culture. The WokeScolds now hate Star Wars “racist” music.

    • boringfileclerk says:

      This has to be from the Onion!

    • Stuart says:

      It’s not a very well considered set of arguments written by a graduate student. Yes, everything is racist. Besides the article, read through the comments (47 so far – primarily unfavorable). My Favorite: “This has to be a gag.”

    • V. Lind says:

      I started that article with a disposition to sneer, but I found it very well argued. So this is what musicology degrees are for.

      However: I doubt many viewers leave a Star Wars movie with a new racist thought subliminally implanted. The music which works, is differentiated in order to differentiate between characters, who are all fantastical. I only ever saw the first SW movie, and that when it came out when I was a sprog. I have heard various bits of the music played in concert over the years, and, as I have argued here before, my only objection is that without the benefit of a film, most film music sounds rather slight — Williams’ perhaps less than many.

      As for this pc stuff: 1) sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. 2) Ever heard Canto-pop? Italian rap? Ethiopian jazz? Music transcends cultures. Ravi Shankar and the Beatles tried to tell us that. Kyu Sakamoto managed it with Sukiyaki. Try Mulato Astatke or Jovanotti or Anita Mui. Non-Jewish klezmer players, FCS. Music belongs to everyone.

      I wish pc rubbish would just go away. And I am sick of everything people do being parsed for possible racist motives. Was Puccini being racist when he adapted Jasmine Flower for Turandot?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s a typical projection of the Left!! A golden rule in psychology is that when people accuse you of something (which is patently not true) over and over and over they’re really telling you all about themselves.

    • Trevor S. says:

      Wow!! That’s one incredible piece of sheet in this article! Most of all I like the “oriental” phrases. Maybe one would bother himself and write an essay of harmonic scales Williams used? Pentatonic? Low II? I think it’s all far-fetched. But who am I to judge? White male who likes “good” and “evil” music equally.

    • PaulD says:

      Just when you thought that the WAPO couldn’t get any more ridiculous.

    • M2N2K says:

      Even that ridiculously ignorant WaPo article can’t help but admit that “the solution is certainly not to blame these composers”. Blaming the article’s author seems far more reasonable.

    • Alan says:

      Unadulterated drivel.

      ‘ A PhD student’.

      It figures.

      Time to get a real job.

  • The View from America says:

    Oh, joy.

  • Karen H says:

    It is always quite funny to me to compare his performance of Don Juan and Till Eulenspiegel with LA Phil with the recording he made with Berlin Philharmonic.

    “Hour Two” from the link above.

    I guess he really does have better chemistry with some orchestras than others.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Yo Dude, love your work!!

  • fflambeau says:

    He’s done a superb job and deserves this. He has brought an energy and a vibrancy to classial music that has often been missing. He’s probably the highest paid (deservingly so) orchestral leader in the world and has done wonders for outreach and programming. If you look at the LA Phil’s website you will see all of this and more.

  • Debuschubertussy says:

    Like him or not, he has made the LA Philharmonic into arguably the top orchestra in the US.

  • ML says:

    Great news. I hope they sign him until 2030–so that Chicago does not have to suffer him any time soon.

  • sam says:

    Dudamel is as good as Zubin Mehta.

    (If you like Zubin Mehta.)