LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The New York Philharmonic said on Tuesday that renowned Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel will become the orchestra’s music and artistic director beginning in 2026, dealing a blow to the music world of Los Angeles.
Known for his kinetic energy and bouncing curly hair, Dudamel has led the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009. He was hired by Deborah Borda, who is now the president of the New York Philharmonic.
With Dudamel at the helm, the New York Times called the LA Phil “the most important orchestra in America – period.”
“I am grateful to the musicians and leadership of the New York Philharmonic as we embark upon this new and beautiful journey together,” Dudamel said on Tuesday. “As the great poet Federico García Lorca said: ‘Every step we take on earth brings us to a new world.’”
Dudamel, 42, has conducted 26 concerts of the NY Phil and made his debut there at just 26 years of age.
Coming to Los Angeles at 27, Dudamel worked to bring new audiences to classical music at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, promote music from the Americas and engage with contemporary composers and musicians.
And as the most famous product of Venezuela’s acclaimed network of music schools known as El Sistema, he also started a youth orchestra known as YOLA in 2007, providing 1,500 young people with free instruments and instruction.
LA Phil’s chief executive officer, Chad Smith, congratulated Dudamel and said he “has left indelible marks on classical music, the LA Phil and Los Angeles.”
Smith said Dudamel programmed some of the most ambitious works ever staged, inspired the orchestra to reach new levels of artistry, expanded the limits of Walt Disney Concert Hall, and demonstrated the power of music to change people’s lives through YOLA.
At the NY Phil, he will succeed Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden.
(Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Daniel Wallis)