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Just in: Dude is Musician of the Year, 2013

It’s the Musical America awards – probably the most prestigious in  music-biz terms in the US. (The winner is the guy on the left). Here’s the release, just in:


 Gustavo Dudamel Named Musician of the Year

David Lang, Wu Man, Joyce DiDonato, and José Antonio Abreu

Recognized as Composer, Instrumentalist, Vocalist, and Educator of the Year


NEW YORK, N.Y. Nov. 6 – Musical America, now in its third century as the indispensable resource for the performing arts, today announced the winners of the annual Musical AmericaAwards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts.


The announcement coincides with the publication of the 2013 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.


The annual Musical America Awards, sponsored by Deutsche Grammophon will be presented in a special ceremony at Lincoln Center on Thursday, December 6.


Cover Photo: Mathew Imaging



In eight short years, 31-year-old Gustavo Dudamel has become more in demand than any conductor in the world. He is a household name in Los Angeles, where he is music director of the Philharmonic. He is mobbed in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, London, and Caracas, Venezuela, where he is one of his country’s best-known and well-loved celebrities. Often compared to Leonard Bernstein, Dudamel shares the American conductor’s charisma, tireless advocacy for music education, and expressive music-making. Dudamel studied violin as a child, and in his early teens he was invited to study conducting with José Antonio Abreu, architect of Venezuela’s famed El Sistema music-education program. At age 18 he became music director of the Sistema’s elite Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. In 2004, at age 23, he won the Bamberg Symphony’s Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, and in 2007 he began a five-year appointment with Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony, which recently ended with his being named honorary conductor. His Los Angeles appointment, which began in September 2009, has been distinguished by the orchestra’s founding of the Sistema-like Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) and a continuation of the orchestra’s and his own commitment to new music, notably that of John Adams, who is the LAPhil’s creative consultant.


David Lang’s early music, laced with elements of rock and minimalism, was at once bracing and controversial, heavily influenced by the Bang on a Can school he co-founded. As he tells critic Tim Page in Musical America‘s tribute, however, “People should change as they get older, and I did.” Lang’s the little match girl passion, set not for rock band but for a rarified quartet of two sopranos, tenor, and bass-baritone, all of whom play small percussion instruments, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. A setting of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, it has been performed several hundred times internationally and also has been staged and choreographed. He made his New York City Ballet debut with plainspoken in 2010. Among numerous commissions, his new theater work, whisper opera, will receive its premiere in Chicago early next year by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).


Photo: Peter Serling



Wu Man is the very model of a modern soloist. More importantly, her work is part of a big step in the evolution of Western classical music. The best measure of her achievement is that her instrument, the pipa–a Chinese lute that dates back some 2,000 years–is no longer an exotic curiosity. Symphony audiences have heard her perform concertos by Lou Harrison and Tan Dun. She performs regularly with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, as a soloist in Bang on a Can marathons, and in chamber groups and orchestras giving the premieres of works by Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Chen Yi, and Bright Sheng, who have written pipa parts into their works with her sound and dexterity in mind.


Photo: Stephen Kahn


Joyce DiDonato is the American opera singer par excellence. Onstage or off, there are few people in opera who radiate this Kansas native’s degree of natural goodness and warmth. For all these qualities, however, the intensity, fury, and abandon of roles such as Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda are well within her emotional range, as she proved at Houston Grand Opera last season. This season she performs a recital program called “Drama Queens,” featuring Baroque arias sung by royal characters (recorded by Virgin Records). Operatic appearances include a reprise of the title role in Maria Stuarda at the Metropolitan Opera, Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Munich and Kansas City, Elena in Rossini’s La donna del lago in Santa Fe, and the title role in Cendrillon in Barcelona.


Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera


José Antonio Abreu has been hailed as a visionary, not only in his native Venezuela but throughout the world, as architect of the extraordinary music-education program called El Sistema. He is quick to point out that “Venezuela’s musical miracle” is not a musical project, but a social action project. Some of his students, 80 percent of whom have come from low-income backgrounds, have gone on to be performers and music teachers, but many are

politicians, diplomats, academics, teachers, doctors, lawyers, civil servants, and community leaders–in short, pillars of society. El Sistema represents education in the widest possible sense, and Abreu, at 74, is still lit from within by the fire of its possibility.


Photo: El Sistema


Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1898, Musical America through the years has appeared in a variety of formats. Today, it is both the International Directory of the Performing Arts

The annual Directory, known as the “bible” of the industry, features over 14,000 detailed listings of worldwide arts organizations, with over 8,000 artists indexed both alphabetically and categorically. The first Directory was published in 1960, which is also when the tradition of choosing a Musician of the Year began. (A complete list is below). Awards for Instrumentalist, Conductor, Composer, and Vocalist of the Year date from 1992; Ensemble of the Year from 1995. All are available at Honorees.


Returning to Musical America‘s newspaper roots, was launched in December 1998 and now publishes up to six performing arts news stories daily, by national and international correspondents around the globe. Most of the Directory listings are also available at


Musical Americais published by UBM Global Trade, a subsidiary of United Business Media plc ( and a leading data publisher, information services provider, and conference producer in the business-to-business community.

Musicians of the Year

1960:          Leonard Bernstein

1961:          Leontyne Price

1962:          Igor Stravinsky

1963:          Erich Leinsdorf

1964:          Benjamin Britten

1965:          Vladimir Horowitz

1966:          Yehudi Menuhin

1967:          Leopold Stokowski

1968-69:     Birgit Nilsson

1970:          Beverly Sills

1971:          Michael Tilson Thomas

1972:          Pierre Boulez

1973:          George Balanchine

1974:          Sarah Caldwell

1975:          Eugene Ormandy

1976:          Arthur Rubinstein

1977:          Plácido Domingo

1978:          Alicia de Larrocha

1979:          Rudolf Serkin

1980:          Zubin Mehta

1981:          Itzhak Perlman

1982:          Jessye Norman

1983:          Nathan Milstein

1984:          James Levine

1985:          Philip Glass

1986:          Isaac Stern

1987:          Mstislav Rostropovich

1988:          Sir Georg Solti

1989:          Leonard Bernstein

1990:          Herbert von Karajan

1991:          Gian Carlo Menotti

1992:          Robert Shaw

1993:          Kurt Masur

1994:          Christa Ludwig

1995:          Marilyn Horne

1996:          The Juilliard String Quartet

1997:          James Galway

1998:          Seiji Ozawa

1999:          André Previn

2000:          Carnegie Hall

2001:          Martha Argerich

2002:          Sir Simon Rattle

2003:          Kronos Quartet

2004:          Wynton Marsalis

2005:          Karita Mattila

2006:          Esa-Pekka Salonen

2007:          Bernard Haitink

2008:          Anna Netrebko

2009:          Yo-Yo Ma

2010:          Riccardo Muti
2011:          Anne-Sophie Mutter
2012:          David Finckel and Wu Han
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  1. ‘Biz’ is right. The money wheel grinds. Don’t get caught in the teeth.

  2. Cathygolucky says:

    But it’s only 2012 … or am I missing something

  3. mark winn says:

    Who are these idiots? …….Dudamel?!!….I didn’t realise the tone deaf could run such awards??

  4. Dudamel???? I am sorry – he is still a work in progress … or should I say a work not making any progress. Maybe this is a joke?

    • “Still a work in progress.” A lot of people would like to be there! His LA Philharmonic has a budget one third larger than the NY Philharmonic. He is hailed Berlin, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Vienna, La Scala and people like Barenboim and Rattle give him the highest-profile events. You might not like his conducting personally, but he has already “arrived.” Musical America showed some quiet restraint in keeping him from the top place this long.

      • You’re right. Not. Their usual ‘quiet restraint’ gave Muti the award in 2010, Haitink in 2007, and Salonen in 2006. All after many years of work and achievement, and with little hype. Alas in 2013 they seem to have finally fallen for PR, glitz and all that rubbish.
        Just a different thought: home come Abbado seems never to have made the list?

        • Peter,
          MTT was 27 years old when he won in 1971. He did not have too many years of work and achievement. However, He was never called as the “Messiah”, “the great” of music among other things that are often used for Dudamel. The one that will change a lot of things. Not even now after many years of achievement MTT is considered in this way. If Dudamel would be receiving just this prize now, perhaps it would not be a problem. However In the last 8 years, there aren’t any place in the planet that did not spend most of time without mentioning something similar about Gustavo. Everything and even the regular ones are treated like if something out of this world is always happening. Perhaps this massive propaganda attack brought new audiences, but this audience is loyal or they will run for the next pop sensation soon? Even if it’s works for decades, it will create just another Karajan.
          I think here at Slipped disc, we got a key about it. Every topic about Dudamel and we got an increase of people that did not support him. Who are the nuts that write here? I’m sure they are not the ones that will visit California and are thinking about attempt a concert in LA, because TV propaganda is using him as one of the touristic landmarks of the State. This propaganda machine is working with the ones that get in touch with Dudamel one or two times per year, because they are not constantly in contact with classical music world. However to the ones on daily routine exposure, it is causing backlashes.
          I don’t think it is a reliable way out of the constantly decrease of classical audience, but I’m not saying I’m right. It is just how I’m feeling about Dudamel in recent years. I would like less hype, in order to allow me to judge more impartially and not expecting anything less than a genius that is making such a difference in the world. The fact is that there aren’t revolutionary interpretations, LA and Gothenburg aren’t playing better than they were during Salonen or Jarvi times, There aren’t new composers developed (As Bernstein did with Mahler in the 50’s and 60’s, for example), there is nothing changing so deeply. I cannot consider his achievements so far as one of a gifted, but still young conductor (Promise for the future). He had been receiving more attention, good adjectives, row and resources than any other conductor I’ve seen before. It is not right to consider him a WIP. I don’t think it is fair to judge Dudamel without been Luke. “Whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked” — Luke 12:35-48
          That’s the reason why I think Dudamel is the top of mind overrated person of the decade. Maybe people like me are minority now, but who can guarantee that this backlash will not increase?

          • Marilyn Crosbie says:

            I agree with your commentary, R. Giarola. I want to point out that in interviews, Gustavo has said many times, “All this craziness about my name.” So the fact is, Gustavo Dudamel does not seek this popularity. Others have chosen to respond to his conducting in this manner. A remark was made about other musicans “working hard”, well if you listen to the interviews with Dudamel, listen to and read what others have said about him, he would not be where he is, had he not worked hard and if he did not continue to work hard. Much work of a conductor is done behind the scenes – hours of personal study of each score, decisions to be made about how to present it, hours of working very hard with the orchestra and getting his ideas across to them. It has been said that Dudamel is very successful in communicating his musical ideas about any given score with the members of various orchestras, that despite the challenge of being ESL (English as his second language). He also must communicate to other musicians whose language he is yet to master. A conductor must also understand each and every musical instrument in the orchesetra and how to fix it if there are problems. (I know this, because my late husband was an orchestra conductor). I don’t think Gustavo would be spreading himself between several orchestras without the full consent of the members of those orchestras. He is not a lone wolf.

          • Marilyn Crosbie says:

            Gustavo did not seek all this “hype”. He has said in interviews “All this craziness about my name.” He has spend years studying music and still must study each score and make decisions about how to present it. He must communicate his musical ideas to members of various orchestras. He must get along well with many, many people, and reports tell us he does get along well with people. He has language challenges, as Spanish is his first language and English is his second language, not to mention other language barriers he has to overcome. He must satisfy his contracts and cannot be a lone wolf.

    • I’m not surprised you’re not the only one who can see this.

  5. Dudamel has just conducted the loudest and more amateurish Rigoletto you could ever imagine at La Scala.
    Once AGAIN, there were no single artist curtain call for the conductor for fear of booing the Maestro.
    Now, Karajan, Muti, Gatti and Maazel did not hide behind the curtain (literally) when severely booed for a Verdi performance at the same theatre, So many awards… Dudamel could be OK in Mahler (yes, OK, not great and inspiring, sorry to shock the liberal colonial radical chic who want to close their ears and eyes and applaude thinking it is very modern of them to mix burritos and sacher torte – what a patronizig bunch) but he should really stay away miles from an opera theatre.
    Can someone from Slipped disc please inquire about this new policy about conductor curtain calls at La Scala which has been created for the first time in 300 years thanks to Barenboim and his assistants?

    • When he conducted the same opera at Hollywood Bowl, the Los Angeles Times wrote:
      “Dudamel overlooked nothing. In his enthusiastically nuanced approach, he brought out abundant theatrical ambience and drama simply through the characterful playing of the L.A. Phil.”
      I appreciate that some people do not like his style and prefer their old Solti or Karajan recordings. But these attacks are beginning to seem oddly misplaced.
      I was at the two-week celebration of the 70th Birthday of the Israel Philharmonic six years ago next month, an extraordinary high-profile gig. The conductors honored by an invitation were Mehta, Maazel, Masur, Gergiev, von Dohnanyi and Dudamel. Rattle and Berlin (a self-governing orchestra) gives him high-profile concerts broadcast throughout Europe and he could likely be on lists as their next music director. The VPO (another self governing body) gave him the Schlossburg concert last year. The only more widely seen even in their calendar is the New Year’s Concert. He’s now a regular at Salzburg, the Proms, etc., etc. These gigs are not an accident. Of conductors in my memory, only Bernstein would equal his record so far. Some may not like him, but a large number really important people in the music scene have a different opinion.

      • Brain Fade. The VPO concert was the June 7th concert at the Schönbrunn Palace. It was recorded on CD and DVD and televised in 60 countries.

        • Frank, sorry. You’re not fair with Dudamel. You’re comparing Gustavo 31 years old, with a Bernstein that died 71, 72(?) The accurate must be Dudamel 31 with Bernstein 31. Bernstein was 31 on 1949. He was MD of a minor orchestra, conducted his first opera just 2 years before as well his first and small trip to Europe. It is all just happened; because some years before he was just an assistant of NY Philharmonic that got lucky that Walter was sick and he could get the baton in a concert that was nationally broadcast. Up to that time, Bernstein didn’t receive any outstanding prize. Toscanini did not invited him yet for NBC. Few record such Ravel Concerto. Probably LATimes had never heard about him on 1949.
          Through your points, in order to be coherent you should say that Dudamel is by far much greater than Bernstein up to now. As you describe, Dudamel phenomenon can only be compared with Lady Gaga. In the last years she had been playing in all major arenas in all six continents. She brought new style renewing the old school such Madonna and Cindy Lauper. Even Madonna is a huge admirer of the energy and love that Gaga brings to the music. She already received many important prizes and outstanding reviews. The LA “oracle” times knows very well who Gaga is. Both Gaga and Dudamel are making the same difference to the world. I think Batman movie series is also in the same level, due to similar reasons.
          Boezi, sorry. What Italians especially at Scalla knows about Rigoletto? Old fashion outdate things. Please, start to read LA times ASAP

          • OK, you say Lady Gaga, Batman and Dudamel are in the same level.
            What level is that actually because I don’t want to go there?

            And Italians at La Scala know nothing about Verdi… ok, let’s all read LA Times now, to find out about Verdi.

            You are cracking me up, very funny.

          • Ahah, well written.
            Certainly LA Times is the place to discover Verdi, or actually LA as a City, considering that the great baritone Placido Domingo is about to make his debut in Due Foscari as the lead? very funny indeed.
            About Dudamel and Rigoletto, I wish Verdi interpretation was the problem.
            We are talking BASICS of opera conducting, as balance, ensemble etc. Things that are not there for Dudamel (I repeat: in the opera house, he is better with a good symphonic orchestra) or of his IKEA version Matheuz in Venice. You know why? because they did not learn the nuts and bolts of conducting, they were thrown out there too young to excellent orchestras that had already these issues sorted out by concert masters,but the moment they face a good orchestra which actually needs some WORK and not just passion and energy, they are completely lost.
            Matheuz in Venice insisted on doing Rigoletto by heart (of course, it’s just Verdi, nothing really serious like Mahler or Berg, and it LOOKS GOOD for a conductor to pretend he knows it all) only to have someone from the orchestra bringing him the score in the middle of the performance because he was lost. This is what you get for POSING as a conductor instead of being one. And scandals like Matheuz being music director of the Teatro la Fenice (!!) would never have happened if the Dudamel travesty was not so media-pumped all the time. The Sistema is a great and important thing, but these freakshows threat the reputation of it and feed the ego of radical chic with guilt complex.

  6. Boezio, I’m starting to think that at some point in your life Dudamel stole one of your girlfriends. Fact is, the vast majority of my friends in the LA Phil, as well as hundreds of my dear colleagues in major orchestras worldwide who have worked with him, love the guy. I remember a good friend of mine in Israel Philharmonic calling me in 2007 after a week working with him and heaped praise on Dudamel I’d only heard for the likes of Rattle and Gergiev. Orchestral musicians love him. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of working with him, but I met him backstage in Houston once and could not have been impressed more with his friendliness and humility.

    • You have summoned up the problem,: still talking about personality, the humility etc…. Would you not be humble if they put you in a spot that you don’t deserve (at least, not yet)?
      I wish someone would start talking about music. And my writing was very specific about issues in the opera conducting department, so the girlfriend joke is just a way to patronize someone who is dealing with serious critical issues and trying to shift the attention – once again – from music to PR.
      These replies show that even people in the business do not care very much about the actual musicianship.
      By the way, orchestral loving working with him is not necessarily a proof of him being a good conductor. In fact, I know that the average orchestral player enjoys the spotlight of having the media attention rather than having someone really working hard and challenging on the issues and technicality of a score.
      If orchestral players love for a conductor is the proof of his abilities, I am afraid Toscanini, Reiner, Muti, Barenboim, Gardiner and Steinberg are really bad. I am not saying that a good conductor cannot be loved, but I am just saying it’s not a sufficient feature to dismiss my technical observations.
      If we have to stay among the young-ish, Daniel Harding has learned the hard way that success is not there to stay if you are not prepared technically. Only now he is finally starting to get good and interesting. And, since you like quoting orchestral players feedback, at La Scala you will find many players telling you that Harding is not very nice but he is a far better conductor than Dudamel.

      • Boezius,

        At no point did I say my colleagues like Dudamel because he is “nice”, so that is an invention on your part. My friends with whom I have spoken enjoy working with Dudamel precisely because of his artistry and technical merits. I fully disclose that I have not worked with him yet but I happily defer to the dozens of my colleagues who have.

        Your assertion that those of us “in the business” don’t care about musicianship is uneducated at best and insulting at worst. I’ve made my living as a recitalist, quartet member, and now orchestral player, and can fully aver orchestral musicians are as musically savvy as any other type of musician. Your comments betray that you yourself must not be a musician, so we should all take your comments with a grain of salt.

        As for Dudamel’s Rigoletto, I cannot say. Perhaps it was terrible, who knows? Wouldn’t be the first time a fine conductor has given a lousy performance. One of the finest Sacre’s I performed was with Slatkin. Truly first rate. Then I read he was a disaster at the Met. I can’t speak for what happened at La Scala, and as someone who’s performed Rigoletto dozens of times, I’m curious what the technical issues are. However, it is a mistake to speak knowingly about a conductor from one performance. Have you watched Dudamel rehearse? Virtually all musicians will tell you that is where we formulate our opinions of conductors.

        At any rate, it seems your anger is misplaced. If you feel Dudamel is getting concerts he shouldn’t, be angry with orchestral management–they’re the ones who invite him. Don’t be angry with Dudamel! You come off as merely jealous. If La Scala called me, I’d answer the phone too.

        • Anonymous,
          If Boeziu is a conductor. In this case, can we say that he is not a musician at all, so we should all take his comments with a (double) grain of salt?
          That’s true the thing you said about a bad day. I’ve attempted one time, the same concert on 3 consecutive days. The last was the worst by far. Everything was different from the first two days with complete lack of inspiration, out of tune, cranky! However, the problem was not with any musicians but with me. I’ve just drunk to much cider during the intermission and was in a terrible need for the WC, but I was at the end of the row pretty close to the stage and it was necessary to ask more or less 15 people to stand up. That terrible feeling started at the beginning of the second movement. At the end of the last one, I could kill Bruckner if He had not died yet. That night I truly though he could cut some notes (Or even an entire movement)
          My opinion about Dudamel is based more or less on 5 concerts. Perhaps in the future I will be happy to do it again. Right now I don’t want to do it at all.
          By the way, I’m not a musician. I’m that nuts that spend all his money to be in the other side of the curtain, with just a little grain of salt. C’mon, it would not be so funny without us. Unless you’re a kind of Gould.
          Please, I’m curious. You said that you did not play with Dudamel yet and that you play in a orchestra. Is there any orchestra that Dudamel did not conduct already? Are you South Pole State Symphony?

        • Well,consider Seguin (who is starting now to get really big gigs, and he is nearly forty) , Andris Nelson (who said no when Boston Symphony called), Noseda (who made his La Scala debut only now), real conductor who how important is to say no, when it’s not time yet.
          I cannot, as you say, suggest that the management is to blame.
          One has to be able to say no to the managers and theatre when it is career wise to do so.
          Examples: singers like Alfredo Kraus, Mirella Freni (read the related NORMAN LEBRECHT article), Thomas Allen (who said no to a major dramatic roles career shift offered to him by Karajan), and conductors like Daniele Gatti, James Levine, Nelson, Noseda… and many others.
          I don’t think to sound angry, just disappointed with the fact that today one can get away so easily with unprofessional behavior thanks to PR and media overexposure. And it’s very easy to say one is jealous when criticizing. Well, then we must all be envious of the various presidents of states, since we criticize them so much in these hard times. Or maybe what they do is subjected to scrutiny and therefore we are able to speak our minds without supposedly committing a crime against the sanctity of the Venezuelan God.

          • Boezio,
            You’re not sounding angry. You should listen to Lebrecht interview with Muti (Podcast). They are explaining the difference between a “No” said in English and in Italian. You will understand the reactions. Also, you could include Maurizio Pollini on your examples. Won first place at Chopin competition with a high top notch mention made by the jury president (Arthur Rubinstein). However, Pollini decided to do not start his professional career and took some good years developing the matureness of his artistic skill.
            Who is guilty? If the sanctity receives invitation from all orchestras and Operas, why he should deny? Why an artistic company should not invite if the majority wants to see him? Why the majority should not want it if in every place they just talk about the god? So, what came first: The chicken or the egg? Or who is guilty concerning establishment of fashion?
            Let’s start to issue articles, reviews, news, podcasts, books, Websites pictures and forum topics showing the Sanctity god and much as we do for Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, for example. Oh no, forget it. Probably some supporter will arrive here telling me that the god is much more in every aspect etc etc. Boezio, it doesn’t worth to insist. By the way, I will be at Berlioz Romeu&Juliette at Scala on Jan 5th. James Conlon. What is your guess about it?

          • Boezio,

            Esa-Pekka Salonen was named music director of LA Phil at age 31 (he took control at age 34), Zubin Mehta was named music director of Montreal Symphony at age 24 (!!) as well as music director of LA Phil at age 26, Claudio Abbado made his La Scala debut at 27 and became M.D. at 35, Leinsdorf was conducting the Met regularly by age 25 and was named M.D. of Cleveland Orchestra at age 31, Chailly made his La Scala debut at 25 and became M.D. of Berlin Radio Symphony at 29, Welser-Most became M.D. of the London Phil at 30 (he debuted with them at 26), Sanderling was conducting Deutsches Oper Berlin by 24, Rattle made his Proms debut with London Sinfonietta at 21, Maazel debuted with NBC Symphony in his teens, Levine made his Cleveland Orch debut in his mid-20′s, his Philadelphia Orch debut at 27, and Met debut at 28, etc, etc, etc. Many conductors have made big debuts in their early 20′s and landed big M.D. positions by their late 20′s or early 30′s. Dudamel certainly has had a meteoric rise, but Mehta was the same age as Dudamel when he was awarded the same post fifty years ago. Dudamel is not in unchartered territory.

            This is not to mention–is it really more difficult to conduct an orchestra than to master an instrument? I’m not belittling the difficulty of doing so. We think nothing of a 26-year old soloist (or even a 20-year old soloist), but there’s an uproar over someone landing big conducting gigs in their mid- to late-20′s? Most conductors begin their conducting careers later because they spend time studying an instrument first, but Dudamel never really followed a violin career (a good friend of mine shared a desk with him in Venezuela and cheekily confirms it was a wise career shift to conducting!). He began on his path earlier than most. Same for some of the other young guns–Jimmy Gaffigan comes to mind, who became assistant conductor in Cleveland at around age 23 or 24. I worked with him at that age and am not surprised that his career has also taken off.

          • Tim, I will ask your patience for a list of questions.
            Are you telling that Dudamel is artistically at maximum as same as Mehta, Salonen, Leinsdorf, and Abbado? If my understand is right, perhaps I agree with you. The point is: “Does Dudamel have been receiving the same attention and treatment equal to that other conductor? I don’t think so. I don’t see Mehta’s face in every place I go in the world and everything he does is not considered outside of this planet, fantastic. Have you ever see Abbado doing a TV merchandising propaganda for California tourism bureau or for a restaurant of typical food in Venezuela? Do you see Salonen or Gaffigan face in every outdoor or webpage of orchestras and theater? Do they make all efforts to obtain attention with something outside music? Kind of clothes, hair, stage dance? I’ve been reading a lot of musician saying that he is very clear and his gestures over acting make a lot of differences. Ok. In this case, Can I also consider that Giulini calm and solid gestures were not good? Don’t need to answer, the eternal excuse is about the rehearsal and the magic Gustavo do during it. We audiences that cannot see anything outside the competent standards are just limited people.
            Can we talk about other ones for a while? Had you ever try to search for “dudamel” here at slipped? The average is at least 1 or 2 topics per month. Sometime even more. Try to search for Skrowaczewski. There is just one since the beginning. Do you thing Dudamel is much more important and is making much more difference and producing music with more quality?

  7. Tim,
    I’ve got a chance to briefly talk with him on Feb 2009 at Festival Hall London. They were offering a kind of a cocktail party after His concert with Philharmonia. I was not invited (Off course), but I’ve just broke in since I saw him through the glass wall of the restaurant skylon aside. I can tell you He was extremely nice, especially considering that he was talking with two guys and I’ve introduced myself from nowhere. We could speak on our South America common language (Portunhol), and we found out that we could do it much better than in English. It was a very brief but a private talk, since probably no one could understand us. Actually, I think that one of the guys that were talking with him was Mr. Lebrecht. (If it was you, please I’m sorry for interrupt you).
    Dudamel got that kind of charisma that reminds me Bill Clinton. A smile or a simple glance and you got a sensation that he is a cool person. Well, it was not enough to make No-Americans citizens to believe in most things the ex-president said. (Sometimes even Americans do not). I would be easily a friend of Clinton, but I would not vote on him.
    Andre Rieu is beloved by all musicians of his orchestra. If my memory doesn’t fail, Toscanini and De Sabata were famous due to their enjoyment to blow musicians any time it was possible. So, It seems that Italians also do not know the correctly way to conduct an orchestra in order to obtain best musical results of the century.

  8. Michael Hurshell says:

    There is something disturbing about young maestri who get pushed to the front of jet set conducting (Berlin, Vienna, London etc) without being able to hold together an opera performance. But it mostly indicates how the idea about what a conductor does has changed. Note that all the following were masters of opera: Toscanini, Furtwängler, Walter, Klemperer, Kleiber (I mean ERICH), Beecham, Serafin, de Sabata, Leinsdorf, Steinberg (W.), etc. A generation later: Solti, Karajan, Giulini, Abbado etc. This tradition is gradually disappearing as the Glitz and Glamor become the focus of things… I do believe that conductors who are good interpreters of opera know a few things more about how to do Beethoven, Mahler and R. Strauss (i.e. their orchestral works) than those who aren’t. Call me old fashioned…

  9. But what does musician of the year actually mean? It’s just empty isn’t it. One could easly pick an oboist from the Berlin, Vienna or BBC Phil and apply the same tag.

    To my ears Dudamel’s interpretations on the podium and on CD have been lacking.

  10. I’m afraid my opinion of Dudamel will ever be tainted by the fact that when deputising at the BBC Proms he dropped from the programmed the Tubin Toccata originally programmed, thus depriving the Estonian composer of a first ever Proms appearance.

    I’d like to think there’s a very good reason, but I remain to be convinced.

    I’ve heard nothing since from Dudamel to persuade me that he is anything more than competent.

    • I don’t understand all the fuss about this (and any other kind of) award. Everybody knows they are mainly a promotional tool for artists and their representatives, and are hardly ever given to people who need them or would actually benefit from them. Von Karajan got it in 1990… when he was already dead! If anything this award confirms a brilliant career, which, musical opinions aside, is the last thing one could deny of Dudamel.

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