KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Thursday at 8pm
  • Hosted by Brian Lauritzen

Each year since its founding in 1919, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has been hailed as Southern California’s leading performing arts institution. Today, under the dynamic leadership of 35-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel, who in 2009 became the orchestra’s eleventh music director, the Philharmonic is still recognized as one of the world’s outstanding orchestras. When he inaugurated his Philharmonic tenure at the Hollywood Bowl, a crowd of eighteen thousand people greeted him with a hollering and stamping pop-star ovation.

There are three main elements behind Gustavo Dudamel’s appeal. The first is his astonishing natural command of the art of conducting. Advance notice of his talent spread not through public relations departments but in awestruck reports from such illustrious colleagues as Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle, who encountered him on visits to Venezuela. Second, Maestro Dudamel has an infectious emotional energy that tends to win over jaded souls in audiences and orchestras alike. He does not have the stone-faced mask of seriousness; his bright eyes and wriggling features suggest that he revels in what he does. Finally, his Latino background puts a new face on an art that is widely viewed as an all-white affair.

He is a product of El Sistema, Venezuela’s legendary network of youth orchestras, which draws talent from the poorest sections of the country, and his perspective is bracingly different from that of the staid conservatory graduate.