Despite rising to the highly coveted position of Music Director of one of the world’s most respected orchestras before reaching the age of thirty, Dudamel’s ascent through the ranks has been a long one, a path that led him all around the world. Born in 1981 in Venezuela to a trombonist and a voice teacher, Dudamel has always had music in his blood. He became involved with El Sistema, Venezuela’s immensely successful and famous youth music education program. This afforded Dudamel opportunities to learn violin and music composition from notable Venezuelan musicians, as well to travel throughout South America with the National Youth Orchestra. Dudamel’s talents and competitive drive earned him recognition and guest appearances among the world’s most prominent orchestras, including Philharmonia, the Gothenburg Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic. In 2009, he was brought on as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s youngest Music Director ever. Finally able to lay down his roots, Dudamel has teamed up with the LA Phil to funnel his creative energy and inspired dream of instilling a passion in music among underserved kids with his Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) program.
His unorthodox and high-energy approach has garnered the LA Phil a great deal of popularity and critical acclaim, with Dudamel himself as the beloved face of the orchestra. However, his service to the music community is not confined to either the podium or his director’s chair. Dudamel dedicates endless hours promoting and fundraising for YOLA, largely modeled on the Venezuelan program that afforded him so many chances to succeed in music. He has expressed his commitment to this project in numerous interviews and the 2011 documentary, “Let The Children Play,” in which his work serves as a central focus. Dudamel has also retained his position as Music Director of the Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra. This has allowed him to continue to share his influence with the rising musical stars of his birthplace and act as a bridge between the Americas. Dudamel believes that every child deserves a chance to find his or her passion. Although his musical legacy is still in its infancy, Dudamel has already made a profound impact on youth education and the preservation of classical music. It will be truly amazing to see what he accomplishes as he soars to even greater heights.