At the age of 18, Gustavo Dudamel became chief conductor of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela – and remains so today. At the age of 23, he won the important Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, and two years later he made his debut at La Scala in Milan before taking up the position of music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, all while not yet thirty years old.
His meteoric career is rooted in the Venezuelan El Sistema, a network of youth orchestras founded in the 1970s, in which Dudamel initially participated as a violinist before his outstanding talent as a conductor was discovered. The musician has an exceptional memory and constantly presents interpretations characterised by a balance of vivacity and precise analysis of the score. One of the most spectacular projects of his career was a cycle with all of Mahler’s symphonies which he realised in 2012 – each in little more than 20 days – in both Los Angeles and in Caracas with his two orchestras. For the performance of the Eighth, the two ensembles united into a single orchestra. Gustavo Dudamel, whose mentors included Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle, made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the 2008 Waldbühne concert. Since then he has performed works of the German-Austrian, French, Russian and American repertoire in the Philharmonie, at the European concert in Vienna and conducts at guest appearances on tours. There is also a joint recording of works by Richard Strauss from 2013.