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Musical World

Gustavo Dudamel

  • Conductor


Gustavo Dudamel press reviews

“…what’s really jaw-dropping is the way his gestures on the podium embody the music – the way he is able to communicate every detail to his musicians through his hands, his eyes, his balletic footwork, or even a flick of his mop of black curls…”
The Guardian April 16, 2009, Tom Service

“…Who said lightning never strikes twice in the same place? Two years ago Dudamel and the orchestra electrified the BBC Proms and on Tuesday, the opening concert of their week’s residency on the South Bank, the blistering energy of their playing again hit London like a bolt from the blue…Dudamel approaches every concert as if it is the only one that ever mattered…his young Venezuelan musicians go with him the whole way. That meant an unashamedly earthy performance of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra…Their performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 was little short of titanic. At every possible moment Dudamel went for the extremes – piling up the huge brass section to shattering volume, driving the symphony at breakneck speed to its a once-in-a-lifetime experience it was unforgettable…the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra has gone out in front to show the world what classical music can achieve...”
Financial Times April 15, 2009, Richard Fairman

“…Inspirational hardly seems adequate to describe how thoroughly Dudamel infuses his players with his passionate appetite for making music. His huge orchestra brought amazing cohesion, brilliance and floods of decibels…”
The Chicago Tribune April 13, 2009, John von Rhein

“…(Dudamel) still amazes. Seeing him in these varied contexts here and over the years one observes his absolute commitment to each moment, his treatment of every orchestra as equal, his unholy wedding of technique and interpretive insight…”
The View From Here (Blog) April 13, 2009, Andrew Patner
“…The orchestra is the world’s most dynamic advertisement for the sheer joy of music-making. That joy electrified the Kennedy Center Concert Hall Monday night…I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun at a concert, and I’m not just talking about the wild and crazy encore portion. Each sonic wave was produced with such enthusiasm and commitment that you couldn’t help but smile…(Dudamel) had the Rite of Spring, in particular, unfolding with extraordinary tension, each jagged rhythmic turn and each percussive jolt given an extra charge – and articulated by the ensemble with startling precision…”
Clef Notes (Blog) April 10, 2009, Tim Smith

“…In what may very well have been Washington’s most viscerally exciting classical music event this season, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela rocked the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall…”
The Washington Times April 8, 2009, T.L. Polnick

“…Gustavo Dudamel’s star has risen so high and so fast that at times it seems as if a large part of the future of orchestral music as a commercially viable art form now rests on the Venezuelan’s slim shoulders. Almost overnight, the 28-year-old conductor has become the Barack Obama of classical music – for struggling orchestras around the world he is now, Obama-like, The One…In the Mahler symphony, the Philharmonia quite simply played out of their skins for Dudamel.…music is a performance art, and anyone who can get the violinists to play with such bite, the cellos with such expressivity, the brass with such potent phrasing – in short, the whole Philharmonia giving their all – gets my vote…”
The Guardian February 25, 2009, Martin Kettle
“…Dudamel conducts with every fibre of his being and transmits a very special energy…With Berlioz’s opening flourish came an instant surge in the electrical charge. Dudamel exacted rhythmic precision but also brought an expansive sweep to the phrasing, and made Berlioz’s carefully engineered crescendos take on a spontaneous and exciting dimension...What is fascinating about this conductor is his gift for communication. Not only does he convey to the players exactly what he wants, but his body language serves to guide the audience beyond the gestures and deep into the music…”
Classical Source February 19, 2009, Rian Evans

“…when Mr. Dudamel, who turns 28 in less than two weeks, returned to Avery Fisher Hall to conduct the Philharmonic in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, the depth and maturity of his musical insights came through in an impassioned yet cogent performance of a formidably complex score. The audience…leapt to its feet and cheered after the final flourish…the architectural structure in the music that Mr. Dudamel revealed was the most striking quality of the performance. He drew maximum expressivity from the orchestra during the halting episodes of the opening funeral-march movement…He did not fuss over the thicket of contrapuntal lines in the stormy second movement but kept his attention on the large gestures, the sweep and churning energy of the music, trusting that the excellent Philharmonic players could take care of the details just fine…Mr. Dudamel drew a tender, elegant account of the slow movement, the famous Adagietto, from the Philharmonic’s glowing strings…During the ovation Mr. Dudamel engaged in his trademark hug-fest with the musicians, who played brilliantly for him. It increasingly seems that the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s decision to appoint him music director, starting this fall, was a savvy move.”
The New York Times January 16, 2009, Anthony Tommasini
“…Yes, Dudamel does have it all…”
American Record Guide May/June 2009, Gil French

“…there is no denying the electric excitement the charismatic young Venezuelan dynamo sends through a concert hall. All four of his weekend engagements with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are sold out, and Orchestra Hall greeted his return Thursday with unbridled rapture…A violinist himself, Dudamel knew how to get the sound he wanted for Brahms' Second Symphony, its deep singing lines opening into larger-than-life climaxes: a firm, dramatic interpretation, brilliantly played…”
The Chicago Tribune January 10, 2009, John von Rhein

“…Chicago is lucky that he thinks of this city as one of his musical homes…I am not sure when I last heard a performance of a Mozart piano concerto that was so interesting…Dudamel was the ball of energy, the builder of climaxes, the bearer of surprise and joy at every turn. But here Dudamel also was letting us share in his three-dimensional X-ray of the score. Of course long lines, keen handling of themes and an on-your-toes pacing were all there and thrilling. But they were combined, entwined and enriched by a measure-by-measure, instrument-by-instrument analysis that brought out harmonic shifts and inner voices and forgotten combinations, each of them coming straight from Brahms' pen.
What a privilege to be able to hear this great young musician. Of course he's charismatic and filled with a magnetic energy. But he's also becoming a true artist.”