Dudamel names new apprentices

Dudamel names new apprentices


norman lebrecht

July 11, 2022

The next four conductors chosen by Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil as 2022/23 Dudamel Fellows are:
Luis Toro Araya (Chile);
Rudolfo Barráez (Venezuela);
Linhan Cui (China);
and Chloé Dufresne (France).

The Dudamel kindergarten is one of the most efficient springboards to an international conducting career.


  • Allen says:

    was it a requirement to NOT be an American, or is that just the silent part said out loud?

  • V.Lind says:

    “Kindergarten”? If the fellowship is a springboard to an international career, the choice of word seems unnecessarily insulting to Dudamel and to the young artists.

    I find it difficult to understand why you persist in doing things like this.

  • Chicagorat says:

    It is so easy to spot the difference in caliber between the LA Phil, arguably the leading US orchestra, and lower tier orchestras such as the CSO. One only has to look at their conducting apprentices; or at their programming, or commercial success, or at their music directors. Or listen to their recordings.

    • Violinophile says:

      I have to wonder, are you trying to be ironic? Few even in LA would put the Phil above Philadelphia, Cleveland or Boston. At least not people I know.

  • Nightowl says:

    The girl in the photo above…

    Is she about to flick a freshly picked rolled-up booger?

  • Anon says:

    No US conductors? Again?

    Dudamel used to at least try to include one US conductor, maybe as a nod to those who are paying his salary. Now he’s not even doing that. Someone should put a stop to this.

    Dudamel is using this fellowship as his personal platform to promote non US conductors who he apparently feels are more deserving than US conductors. And he’s doing the same thing with hiring in LA Phil, giving preference to non US players, when there are legions of highly trained, qualified US players eager to work with LA Phil. This is one example of why the US lags behind in producing top conductors & instrumentalists. People in power, like Dudamel, want to give the best opportunities to their fellow foreigners.

    It’s not that qualified US candidates don’t exist. Are we seriously supposed to believe that in all the years Dudamel has been personally selecting the winners of this fellowship that so few qualified US conductors have ever applied? No. He has a personal preference for other South American or Spanish speaking conductors, like himself, and that’s who he makes sure wins. An overwhelming no. of winners are from Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia. With a few Europeans and Asians as tokens, but heavy on Spain as fellow Spanish speakers. This fellowship should rightfully be called “Gustavo Dudamel’s South American and Spanish Conducting Fellowship.” US candidates need not apply.

    It’s great to give South Americans this opportunity. But this is a US funded, US based fellowship, and there should be an effort to include US conductors as well. Someone needs to stand up to Dudamel and make this clear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree. Super obvious and apparent the biases at play here with Dudamel. Not only is he biting the hand that feeds him, but these workshops become a green-card factory, which has already happened in many conservatories in the US.

      But more generally, a lot of arts organizations in provincial America, in particular, also target internationals specifically over Americans to add to their international flair and mystique. I’ve quite literally heard verbatim “we wanted a British accent”, or “someone based overseas” from boards discussing conductors.

    • A.Ram says:

      Same thing happens in other countries.

      Someone commented on SD that in Spain 70% of all chief and principal conductors are foreigners (including at least four US conductors).

      By the way, Chilean Dudamel Fellow Luis Toro Anaya won the assistant conductor position with the National Orchestra of Spain (ONE), even when it was stated in the regulations of the selection process that candidates had to be citizens of a European Union country.

      • Anon says:

        Yes, but if you follow the threads, you’ll see that the guy who tried to make that 70% claim was shot down pretty quickly. There are plenty of Spanish conductors working in Spain. Looks like that guy has reappeared here under a new pseudonym, by the way.

    • Larry W says:

      Yet another negative comment given anonymously. Not much courage doing so, Anon.

      • Anon says:

        Hi, Larry, if someone comments under their actual name here, that comment will come up online for eternity every time your name is googled. You call it lack of courage, I call it protecting my privacy.

    • AlexanderX says:

      … and Spanish Conducting Fellowship? There has NEVER been a Spanish Dudamel Fellow. “With a few Europeans and Asians as tokens, but heavy on Spain as fellow Spanish speakers”? What???

      Perhaps you just need some free education here:
      Spain: Spain, a EU-member country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula.
      Spanish (adjective): relating to Spain, its people, or its language
      Spanish (noun): 1. the people of Spain [Europe]. 2. a Romance language spoken in Spain [Europe] and in much of Central and South America.
      Spanish language: Spanish is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family that evolved from colloquial spoken Latin in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe.
      Hispanic (adjective): 1. of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent and especially of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin living in the U.S.
      2 : of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain
      Latin (noun): 1.the language of ancient Rome and its empire, widely used historically as a language of scholarship and administration.an inhabitant of ancient Latium in Ιtaly. 2.a native or inhabitant of a country whose language developed from Latin, especially a Latin American
      Latin (adjective): 1. relating to Latin. 2. relating to the countries using languages, such as French and Spanish, that developed from Latin. 3. of or relating to the part of the Catholic Church that until recently used a Latin rite and forms the patriarchate of the pope.
      Latino (noun): a native or inhabitant of Latin America
      2 : a person of Latin American origin living in the U.S.
      Latino (adjective):

      • Anon says:

        Oh, come on. Without even looking I can tell you that one of last year’s fellows was Francisco Lopez Ferrer, son of Jesus Lopez Cobos. Before that there was Antonio Mendez. I live & work in Spain. I am very aware when Spanish conductors win the Dudamel. I have no idea what you’re going on about in your rant. Regards.

      • Anon says:

        Dudamel is married to a Spaniard, by the way, spends plenty of time in Spain & holds Spanish citizenship. So yeah, he has an interest giving a leg up to Spanish conductors.

        Here’s info on Antonio Mendez, for example, who was a 2013 Dudamel Fellow. He’s from Palma de Mallorca, which last time I checked, is part of Spain.


        • Mythreecents says:

          The first Dudamel Fellowship was in 2009, and since then every year there are three or four Dudamel Fellows. Since 2009 there have been 44 fellows. One of the 44 is a Spaniard (Antonio Mendez), and one (Lopez-Ferrer) holds both Spanish and US passports, so basically only one fellow is Spanish. Hardly a “Gustavo Dudamel’s Spanish Conducting Fellowship” if only one of the fellows has been a Spaniard.

          • Anon says:

            Ok, so let’s call it “Gustavo Dudamel’s South American Conducting Fellowship” then. With 13 out of the 44 winners hailing from South America, it seems about right. 8 of those, BTW, are conductors from Dudamel’s native Venezuela. With those odds, it certainly isn’t a fellowship which is making any effort to give fair representation to US candidates.

            Yeah, I inadvertently included Spain because I had in the back of my mind Dudamel’s efforts to hire in Spanish nationals as Principal players in LA Phil. That’s potentially even more damaging than his conducting fellowship preferences. He’s done that twice now. One didn’t work out, the other is still there.

            These are very high profile positions, among the highest paying orch. jobs in the US. There are legions of qualified US players for those jobs. Yet Dudamel has twice chosen a Spaniard over a US player. This would be fine if Spain willingly reciprocated. But Spain will always give preference to their own players, esp. in the best paying positions.

            I wish with all my heart that Spaniards understood this. The US, and every other country is giving Spanish & other foreign musicians and conductors a wealth of employment and opportunities. The Dudamel Fellowship and LA Phil are just 2 examples.

            Spaniards hold top paying conducting and orch jobs in the US and around the world. Yet if any foreigner dares to conduct or play in a Spanish orch. it’s suddenly “Foreigners are taking all of our opportunities!” “There are no Spanish conductors conducting Spanish orchs.!” That’s not even close to being true.

            As long as Gustavo Dudamel & others in power choose to give preference to foreign candidates over qualified US candidates, then we have to look to other countries and insist on reciprocity. Unfortunately, that is not happening right now.

            US conductors & players are, for the most part, being locked out of what should be a global classical music market.

          • Franz1975 says:

            According to the orchestra’s website there is only one Spaniard in the orchestra: principal trombone David Cantero. One Spaniard in the orchestra, one past Spanish fellow, and one Spanish -American Fellow. I don’t see Dudamel going out of his way to help Spaniards into the LA Phil.

            My local orchestra, not in Spain but in another European Union county, has an American Principal Conductor, and there are four US American players. Should we think that the US American conductor is helping US American musicians to win positions in the orchestra for an eventual full take over by immigrating US musicians?

  • Judy says:

    I don’t understand why the LA Phil allows this to happen YEAR AFTER YEAR. THERE ARE U.S. conductors that could learn so much from him – while he is employed at the LA Phil and is earning money IN America. Enough with the overseas apprentices. RIDICULOUS! (Same for the orchestras that keep hiring all of these European conductors in the U.S. – haven’t we learned?)

  • Zandonai says:

    Mirga Grazynka-Tyla is an alumna of the Dudamel kindergarten. Congrats!

  • The Other says:

    If we think that there was no better candidate in the audition, we are very wrong. But of course, as always.There is always better one. Safe from this faulty and broken process.