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May 02, 2010



You are, of course, correct. It's just an interesting contrast with the endless mega-hype announcing the arrival of The Dude and the lengthy absences of the same.

And I am looking forward to more performances next year. We decided to subscribe to Casual Fridays in order to hear his talks. Should be interesting.

Bob Thomas

That’s a little harsh, Gary. During his first season Gustavo spent eight weeks conducting concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, plus his “¡Bienvenido Gustavo!” concert at Hollywood Bowl last October and the inaugural gala concert at Disney Hall. Even that’s a little misleading because his time with the orchestra during the last two weeks has included three separate programs (with one more upcoming this week).

When the 2009-2010 LAPO season was announced, Gustavo said he’d spend more time with the Phil in upcoming seasons and, at least for 2010-2011 he’s delivered. He is conducting three separate programs at the Bowl this summer (August 1, 3 and 5) and during the upcoming Disney Hall season, he’ll conduct 12 weeks of subscription concerts plus an opening gala concert. That total — 16 concerts (or sets of concerts) — is a sizeable number for a music director in this era.

Actually, as I will discuss in a Blog post on May 18, the Phil’s management is to be commended that the transition between Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel went as smoothly as it did, given that major conductors usually have their schedules booked several years in advance. Esa-Pekka’s final concerts were in April 2009 (seems hard to believe it was only a year ago) and Gustavo’s first were in October. Consequently, the Phil had no interregnum in its musical leadership from Esa-Pekka’s final season to Gustavo’s first.

Contrast that with, to cite just one example, the Chicago Symphony. Daniel Barenboim’s final concerts as CSO Music Director were in June 2006 and Riccardo Muti takes over as music director next fall. Even though the CSO, through Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez, had exemplary interim leadership, it’s been quite a gap between music directors. The Philadelphia Orchestra is in the midst of an even tougher stretch (more on that May 18).

Consequently, L.A. Phil management earns high marks in my book for its bold move in signing Gustavo and for working with him and Esa-Pekka to make the transition work as smoothly as it did.


"Music Director Gustavo Dudamel will be on the podium conducting 110 musicians in four works..."

We're all looking forward to when The Dude actually sees fit to conduct in LA on occasion!

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