By Sarah Yáñez-Richards |
New York (EFE).- The Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel says that being the new director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is a dream that he began to have when he was nine years old, he played the recordings of this institution in the background and directed his puppets.
The 42-year-old teacher notes that despite the fact that the road has been very long, everything has happened in an “organic” way and that he is a clear example that “dreams can be achieved” with “work” and “love for music”. for those children who are dreaming the same from their rooms.
Dudamel will leave the Los Angeles Philharmonic to join the New York Philharmonic at the end of his contract in 2026.
First Latino to conduct the New York Philharmonic
“I had not thought that I would be the first Latino (in this position). It makes me proud, but I don’t take this individually,” Dudamel told reporters at an event held in a Lincoln Center auditorium.
For the artist, teamwork is essential, as he says that the connection in a concert between the musicians and the director is “the love of music.”
For this reason, Dudamel says that he does not come with a specific plan to create a “new era” under his baton and that his plan will be outlined as he works with the Philharmonic team and with the New York community.
What he does want is to make the New York Philharmonic his new family, just as he did at the Los Angeles Philharmonic or the orchestras he worked with in Venezuela.
Gustavo Dudamel’s arrival in New York
For its part, the New York Philharmonic emphasizes that with Dudamel it seeks to “democratize interest in classical music”, since they hope that the Venezuelan maestro will be able to reach a more diverse audience.
Deborah Borda, the president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic, was in charge of interviewing Dudamel at the presentation ceremony.
She was the one who signed Dudamel for the first time after working with him when she directed the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Venezuelan was only 26 years old.
Dudamel, who has also been director of the Paris Opera, will replace Dutch violinist Jaap van Zweden, who has served as music director of the New York Philharmonic since 2018 and will extend his term until 2026.
a family of musicians
Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, in a family of musicians. Her father was a trombonist and played in a salsa band and her mother a singing teacher.
He trained in “El Sistema”, a Venezuelan program that teaches music to children, many of them from poor families, and his talent was quickly recognized by the founder of the organization, José Antonio Abréu.
“He was the one who saw something special in me when I was nine years old and he made me walk this wonderful path that is to be a conductor”, affirms Dudamel.
In 2004, Gustavo Dudamel won the first Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany.
The musician received an invitation to make his American debut at the Hollywood Bowl the following year, in a program of works by Tchaikovsky and the Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas.
“A 24-year-old Venezuelan director with curly hair, long sideburns, and a baby face accomplished something increasingly rare and difficult,” Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed wrote of that performance at the time, “gaining the immediate, undivided, undivided attention of a normally restless audience. And he kept it”.
Dudamel’s debut at the New York Philharmonic in 2007 was equally memorable, even after breaking a baton -used by the great Leonard Bernstein- that the orchestra had lent him in two pieces, an anecdote that Dudamel recalled with a laugh.
Gustavo Dudamel’s career in Venezuela
His relationship with Venezuela since he was appointed director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic suffered its ups and downs.
He directed the orchestra that played at the funeral of President Hugo Chávez and for years he resisted criticizing the government.
But in 2017, after a young “El Sistema” member was killed during a street protest, Dudamel criticized the government’s plan to rewrite the constitution.
President Nicolás Maduro responded by canceling the foreign tours of Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the maestro did not return to his country of origin.
Dudamel explained that although he has not been present in Venezuela, he continues to have a close relationship with the Bolívar orchestra, which he still considers his family.
“It will always be my orchestra and I hope that in the near future we will do hundreds of things together,” he says.
Cultural contribution in Los Angeles
14 years ago Dudamel’s appointment as director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in a first concert in which the audience applauded him for more than ten minutes.
According to experts, he will leave behind an important cultural contribution to the city by forming one of the most successful orchestras in the United States.
Among others, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA), an initiative to establish youth orchestra programs in disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles.