Gustavo Dudamel conducts Bruckner; Webern; Takemitsu

There was one other piece on the program, Toru Takemitsu’s Requiem for strings, which was added because the L.A. Phil will also play this concert in Costa Mesa as part of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s JapanOC festival.

The Requiem is the Japanese composer’s first notable work, written in 1957 as Takemitsu was recovering from tuberculosis. Like Webern and Bruckner, Takemitsu wrote music that insists on stopping and smelling the roses. But in the French-influenced early Takemitsu the perfume is everything.

The Philharmonic strings did not fully convey the impression of weightlessness that Takemitsu might have liked, but the textures were lush and Dudamel centered in on the Requiem’s meditative beauty.

Read the full review in the Los Angeles Times here.

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Festival will celebrate Japanese and Japanese American arts

A variety of Japanese and Japanese American arts — including Butoh and jazz, as well as  anime — will be celebrated during “JapanOC,” a seven-month festival presented by Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Programs will feature traditional and contemporary music, dance, theater, film and visual art. Among the highlights will be tributes to composer Toru Takemitsu and sculptor-designer Isamu Noguchi by artists including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Tokyo String Quartet.

Music offerings include:

  • Guitarist Kazumi Watanabe playing selections from Takemitsu’s avant-garde works on Dec. 19 at OCPAC’s Samueli Theater.
  • Gustavo Dudamel leading the L.A. Philharmonic in a program of Takemitsu’s “Requiem for Strings” and works by Webern and Bruckner on March 5 at OCPAC’s Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
  • The Tokyo String Quartet performing Takemitsu’s “A Way a Lone” and other works on April 19 at the Samueli Theater.

Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times here.

San Franciscans welcome Gustavo Dudamel

Reporting from San Francisco

The houselights stayed dim at the start of Monday night’s concert at Davies Symphony Hall for longer than usual, as if to milk the moment for all it was worth. Only a few extra seconds elapsed before Gustavo Dudamel strode on stage to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But the sense of anticipation in the concert hall seemed to make those ticking seconds feel like an eternity.

Just as he has bewitched Los Angeles audiences since becoming music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic last fall, so the charismatic 28-year-old conductor has quickly brought Bay Area audiences under his spell. A pair of sold-out concerts in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday evenings marked the launch of Dudamel’s inaugural tour as music director of the Philharmonic — the orchestra’s first national tour in almost a decade. If audience reactions to Monday’s performance are anything to go by, the Philharmonic will be returning home later this month after completing its all-but-sold-out 10-concert journey with eight cities full of Dudamel devotees in its wake.

Read the full review in The Los Angeles Times here.

More Gustavo in The Los Angeles Times here, here, here and here.

Gustavo Dudamel leading the LA Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall

Avery Fisher Hall was sold out for the concert by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday night, the first chance for concertgoers in New York to see him in action since he became the orchestra’s music director last fall. He has since galvanized Los Angeles with his exuberant music making and inspiring capacity for outreach.

But part of the job description for a music director at a major American orchestra involves fostering the technical skills of the players and giving assured, fresh performances of works in the central repertory. In this regard, Thursday’s concert was a disappointment. It began with an arresting account of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”) with the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet dazzling in the formidable solo part.

After intermission, however, Mr. Dudamel turned to Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, and the performance, though rhapsodic and intensely expressive, was rough and unfocused. Mr. Dudamel conducted from memory and exuded involvement. Clearly, he knows the score and knows what he wants. But he may have wanted more than the music could bear.

Read the full review in The New York Times here.

Gustavo Dudamel: 'short' and 'chunky'?

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel is often called boyish, athletic, handsome and energetic. But “short” and “chunky”?

Those were the adjectives used by a reviewer for the San Jose Mercury News on the occasion of Dudamel’s appearance Monday evening at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. The concert was the conductor’s first on his eight-city national tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the program included John Adams’ “City Noir” and Mahler’s First Symphony — the same lineup that opened the current season at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Read the full blog posting here.

More recent Gustavo coverage  in the Los Angeles Times here, here, here, here and here!

Gustavo Dudamel and the great agent showdown

The greatest rivalries are frequently between people who were once close colleagues, and may even have grown up together. Think of Cain and Abel, Lenin and Trotsky, Blair and Brown, Lennon and McCartney. Now the classical music business is enthralled by something similar in the murky world of agents.

The world’s most charismatic young conductor — Gustavo Dudamel, the Venezuelan who achieved sensational fame with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and is now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — has been snatched from one agency by another. The money involved isn’t big by Hollywood or pop music standards. Music-business insiders reckon that the agent’s commission (typically 15 per cent) on Dudamel’s fees over the next five years (at, say, £20,000 a concert) will amount to about half a million quid — though of course Dudamel could earn his agent millions if he conducts at the highest level for the next 50 years.

But the preening on one side and seething annoyance on the other attest to the pride involved. To add spice to the story, both agencies are based in London, the world capital of classical music deal-making. And both are run by men who, 30 years ago, cut their teeth in the same office.

Read the full article in The Times here.

When the Kids Come Out to Play

IN the world of the contemporary symphony orchestra, youth is not so much a stage of life as it is a battle cry. Youth orchestras! Young conductors! At times it begins to seem that nothing else counts.

Last December in Vienna, Christoph Koncz, a cherubic ex-concert master with the training orchestra at the Verbier Festival, in the Swiss Alps, and now, at 22, a principal second violin with the Vienna Philharmonic, recalled the Salzburg Festival debut of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra under the fire-eating Gustavo Dudamel, then 27, in 2008.

Whether craving such magic or out of pure altruism, A-list conductors in ever-increasing numbers attach themselves to ensembles like the Verbier Festival Orchestra (long associated with James Levine), the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra (organized on the initiative of Claudio Abbado) and the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra (founded by Riccardo Muti). Last August in Salzburg, Franz Welser-Möst, music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, explained the appeal. “Professional orchestras are jaundiced,” he said. “Youth orchestras are full of enthusiasm. Old maestros love that.”

Read the full article in The New York Times here.

Los Angeles Philharmonic 2010/11 Season

Los Angeles (February 16, 2010) – Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and President and CEO Deborah Borda today announced the 2010/11 season of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dudamel and the LA Phil move into the second season of their partnership, one which allows for a greatly expanded presence for Dudamel in Los Angeles. The momentum and initiatives of Dudamel‟s inaugural season continue with 12 new commissions, 9 world premieres, 5 U.S. premieres, 5 West Coast premieres, 2 composer-based festivals, a major European tour and a series of artistic partnerships. The vibrant season, which embraces innovation, excellence and commitment to community, is further embodied in the expansion of YOLA, along with a spectrum of imaginative presentations and the continuing tradition of introducing rising artists and composers.

Read the full press release here [PDF].
Read the coverage in the Los Angeles Times here.