Gustavo Dudamel

Venezuelan conductor and violinist

Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most popular conductors of the early twenty-first century. He is a leading figure in the musical community and a compelling ambassador for the "El Sistema" programme.

Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramirez was born on 26 January 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, the son of a trombonist and a singing teacher. He was introduced to music at a very young age by his parents, before joining the "El Sistema" music education programme, where he started learning the violin at the age of 10.  

Gustavo Dudamel began studying conducting in 1995 with Saglimbeni, then José Antonio Abreu.  Four years later, he was appointed music director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (now the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela), which he conducted on tours of a number of countries.

He worked as assistant for Sir Simon Rattle (who was quick to spot his talent) in Berlin and Salzburg in 2003. He also won numerous prizes, including the Gustav Mahler Conducting Prize in 2004. His career then took a giant step forward when, in 2005, he signed a contract with the Deutsche Grammophon record label and replaced Neeme Järvi at the head of Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms. In 2006, he became the orchestra's principle conductor.

The following year, Gustavo Dudamel debuted at La Scala in Milan, conducting Mozart's Don Giovanni. In 2007, he was chosen to succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen at the head of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from 2009. His contract was subsequently extended to 2019. 

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, which he continues to conduct, frequently work with other orchestras, including the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra. He has conducted the French orchestra on a number of occasions, most recently in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for the Requiem by Berlioz. 

In 2012, Gustavo Dudamel and his wife Eloísa founded the "Dudamel Foundation" for musical education and social justice.

Six landmark dates in the life of Gustavo Dudamel: 

• 1995: began studying conducting
• 1999: appointed music director of the Simón Bolívar  Symphony Orchestra
• 2003: assisted Sir Simon Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
• 2005: signed a contract with the Deutsche Grammophon label and debuted at the BBC Proms
• 2009: succeeded Esa-Pekka Salonen at the head of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
• 2012: founded the "Dudamel Foundation"

Six key recordings by Gustavo Dudamel:

• "Fiesta" (works by Revuéltas, Carreno and others)
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2008

• DVD "The Inaugural Concert" (City Noir by John Adams, Symphony No. 1 by Gustav Mahler)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2010

• "Rite" (Le sacre du Printemps, by Stravinsky, and La Noche de los Mayas by Revuéltas)
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2010

• Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 and Francesca Da Rimini
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2009

• Mahler, Symphony No. 5
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2007

• DVD "The Promise of Music"
Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (conductor)
Deutsche Grammophon, 2008