Contagious enthusiasm: Gustavo Dudamel

Los Angeles is basking in the light of having the remarkable Dudamel as its philharmonic orchestra’s next music director starting 2009.

geneva market music micheleroohani

“True class: South America’s lightning conductor . . . what I experienced was sensational. His name is Gustavo Dudamel – he produced enough electricity to light up Birmingham – a young man with boundless talent, deeply in love, and the world at his feet.” The Times (London)
Dudamel started by playing the violin before becoming a conductor – listen to him play as the devil himself in this clip. His joy and exuberance are contagious.

anelli dudamel

Venezuela is not all about Chavez and his histrionics – it could also be about El Sistema, an organization that gave birth to the likes of Dudamel through teaching music to children. I first read about this a few months back but tonight the 60 minutes program (a must see) just blew me away…250,000 Venezuelan teenagers and children, most from impoverished backgrounds, are participating in El Sistema that has already produced many world class musicians – Mahler and Bernstein are keeping them out of trouble – All over the world, young people have so much to give and from whom so little is expected…

My other favorite Venezuelan is Manuel Graterol‘s daughter, Flor.

music micheleroohani dudamel

Of course amid all this musical euphoria, the cynic in me remembers George Steiner‘s quote: “we know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day’s work at Auschwitz in the morning.


4 thoughts on “Contagious enthusiasm: Gustavo Dudamel

  1. I am harder to please than you by far, and am indifferent to most fads and especially new so called musical geniuses, but I was truly fired up, inspired, charged, and tumultuously thrilled by Gustavo Dudamel.

    Ok blown-away does communicate your feelings in one word but in this day and age i am afraid to chance what it means on a given day.

    Stay away from fads! Especially ones that are in league with the lexicon of the day. Unless you are trying to save your ass in a ghetto that you frivolously wandered into.

  2. Classical music, like art more generally, cannot be understood in terms of popular culture. Its concerned with details of its musical language and inner musical form to a degree that popular music is not. Its value has little to do with fashion or the particular social rituals of any one stage of life… Julian Johnson.

    George Steiner’s incandescent Quote sums up the essence.. We will never grasp the complexity of human nature.. Our emotions are inaccessible to reason.. In fact this is why even, I continue to remain cynic..

  3. The piece is something very much Latin American but i don’t know exactly what it is. The violin playing on this recording is quite good.
    We will have a better chance to get to know him as a violinist when he performs chamber music with some of my Philharmonic colleagues here in LA at the WDCH next month.

  4. I, too was suitably impressed by this remarkable musician. Thank you.

    More than that; what moved ME to tears was your quotation by George Steiner — a former teacher of mine and a man whom I revere.

    A work of his that you would like — written in French (parallel translation) and never publish in the English speaking world — is “Dix raisons (possibles) à la tristesse de la pensée”, Published in 2005 – Albin Michel. ISBN 2226155627

    I cried upon reading his words. The mask of civilization.

    Double trouble, double thanks!

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