LA Phil names its new conducting fellows

LA Phil names its new conducting fellows


norman lebrecht

August 30, 2021

Gustavo Dudamel has rolled out his next set of flaks – a job that practically guarantees a baton career.

He says: ‘I am deeply proud of everything we have accomplished with our Dudamel Fellows program, and it gives me great inspiration to welcome this diverse and talented youth to Los Angeles to develop their craft in the direction of orchestras. What makes our program something unique is how it goes beyond the concert hall and enters the community, serving as a cultural and educational center for the entire city. I look forward to welcoming you and working with this group and integrating you into the family of our LA Phil.’

The new fellows are: François López-Ferrer, Chloé van Soeterstède (pictured), Camilo Téllez, Enluis Montes Olivar.


  • Bill says:

    Not even remotely a correct usage of the term, in either spelling.

  • Jon says:

    Are any of them American?

    • Rodrigo says:

      Francois Lopez-Ferrer from the US, but I believe holds another nationality as well. His father was the great Spanish conductor Jesus Lopez Cobos.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Why can’t Sarah Palin’s “Joe Six-Pack” learn to conduct? His name would certainly be easier to pronounce.

    • Piston1 says:

      I don’t think “Joe Six-Pack” is particularly worried — he’s gonna beat you at the ballot-box in November 2022.

  • Could it be that there is something about the art of conducting with all of its authoritarianism, regimentation, and stifling hierarchies that is fundamentally unamerican? Might this explain the relative lack of American conductors on the world stage?

    • Rodrigo says:

      Interesting observation, William, but this Fellowship has a simpler reason: since it began, Dudamel has always favored non-Americans, particularly Spanish speakers – mostly South Americans, with a disproportionate no. of Fellows from his own country, Venezuela.

      This year is no exception: of the 4 chosen, 1 is Venezuelan 1 is Colombian, 1 dual Spain/US. Lopez Ferrer is as American as the boy next door, having grown up in Cincinnati, but he is, of course, bilingual Spanish-English, since his father was Jesus Lopez Cobos. The woman chosen is French.

      Usually Dudamel will make a token nod & include 1 non Spanish speaking US conducting fellow. This year he didn’t even try.

      • Juan says:

        Dudamel is doing great by us

      • Martin says:

        You almost sound like a member of the Stephen Miller fan club. When I was in college, ALL conductors of major orchestras were European.

        Talent is talent, no matter where it comes from.

        • Rodrigo says:

          Yeah, but the fellowships are funded by LA Phil and by US donors. There are tons of deserving US conductors. They should be given this opportunity, too.

          Otherwise, just as in the days of the European-only maestri, we are reinforcing the belief that US musicians and maestri are somehow inferior.

        • Piston1 says:

          — Really, I know: Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Schippers, Henry Lewis, James DePreist, Julius Rudel, MTT, John Nelson, Dennis Russell Davies, Sarah Caldwell, Lukas Foss, Gunther Schuller, Hugh Wolff, Kent Nagano, JoAnn Falletta, Marin Alsop, Duke Ellington, John Williams, Robert Shaw, James Levine…..what a bunch of nobodies. Couldn’t get a gig leading a two-car parade.

          • Rodrigo says:

            Everyone on that list is dead, elderly or middle aged, at best. Where is the new generation of US conducting talent?

            It shouldn’t be the function of the wealthiest orchestra in the US to nurture only foreign conducting talent, completely ignoring young US conductors.

            I would be interested to know Maestro Leonard Slatkin’s opinion. He is the greatest living authority, IMHO, on the advancement of US composers and conductors worldwide. Is the US is doing an acceptable job of encouraging new US maestri? Should a US funded fellowship program like the Dudamel make an effort to include at least, minimally, US conductors, along with talent from other countries?

            Or should we be content to stand by and simply accept that young US conductors are just not good enough to be accepted as apprentices to Gustavo Dudamel?

            Maestro Slatkin, incidentally has a new book coming out Sept. 15. Looks fascinating!

          • Piston1 says:

            — they’re in Europe. James Gaffigan, Alan Gilbert, Case Staglione, Smart guys.

          • Rodrigo says:

            Casey Scaglione, not Staglione! Perfect example. Why is he cutting his teeth on European orchestras & not in the US?

            What a shame these guys have to come to Europe to get their 1st break. So many times they arrive with all the big expectations Europe holds for Americans and very little experience.

            Gaffigan is 42, not young by conducting standards & he’s about to get eaten alive at Les Arts Opera in Valencia, Spain where he’s just been appointed MD. He has zero experience heading an opera company & even less with a corrupt govt funded one. Smart? Not on your life. He’s about the most naive, unprepared conductor I can think of.

            Alan Gilbert, at 54, is solidly middle-aged. And he has a big Music Directorship behind him. He can hardly be considered part of any new, young generation of US conductors.

            Keep trying, Piston1. You’re not convincing me. Why isn’t the US supporting its own young conductors?

      • If Dudamel gives preference to Latin Americans, I wouldn’t hold that against him at all. It’s about time. 49% of the people in LA Country are Hispanic. We might also consider that the cultural potential for classical music is enormous.

        • Rodrigo says:

          True, but meanwhile US conductors trying to make a career are once again pushed to the back of the line. First Europeans have preference, now Latin Americans.

          When and where will US conductors be given a chance?

          • What about American conductors who are Hispanic?

          • Rodrigo says:

            That would be great, but that’s not who Dudamel chooses. Historically he selects young Spanish speaking conductors who are not US citizens, nor do they usually have any previous ties to the US. Lopez Ferrer is an exception – he’s the Asst. in Cincinnati.

            You can’t really say Lopez Ferrer is a Hispanic American, because he’s half Spanish & Spaniards generally consider themselves to be Europeans, not “Hispanics”.

            Your suggestion is a good one, William, but Hispanic American conductors are not who Dudamel is interested in, apparently.

          • Jack says:

            Presumably they were. I’m sure there was an application process followed by thorough vetting.

          • Rodrigo says:

            From the downthumbs I assume there are readers who believe that young US conductors should NOT be given a chance in the US. No fellowships, no apprenticeships, no jobs, no opportunities whatsoever their own country, is that right?

            I would love to know why you believe this. Reasons, please?

            So if young US conductors want to conduct, they have to magically pop up in some other country with no experience whatsoever and hope some other country will give them a chance?

            The problem is that most other countries give those initial opportunities first to their own citizens before sending them out onto the international stage. When a US conductor comes to conduct in Europe, orchs. expect someone who is experienced and already polished. Europeans have this image of the US as a world power and they expect any conductor from the US to be consistent with that, not some beginner just starting out.

            So you downthumbers want the US to give opportunities and pay for the training only for foreign conductors, is that right?

            Please tell us why.

  • Gunter95 says:

    Camilo Téllez’s bio on says that “In 2019, he was a finalist at the Amsterdam Conservatorium Competition, where he had the opportunity to conduct the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Hague Ensemble.” There is no such competition. The only thing similar to a conducting competition in Amsterdam is the annual audition to study at their National Master in Orchestral Conducting. Good try…

    • Rodrigo says:

      Yeah, he also spelled his own country wrong on Instagram: “Columbia”. That’s how it was quoted in another news source, anyway.

  • Piston1 says:

    It’s Winston-Salem, it’s LA, and everywhere in between: the whole thing has become a racket, with Woke-ism as the veneer.