Gustavo Dudamel is leaving Los Angeles. But the city has a few years to brace itself for the looming departure of one of its favorite sons.
The famed conductor will move to New York and take on the position of music director for the New York Philharmonic beginning in 2026.
Dudamel shared the story via Instagram, where he wrote, “Today, I am honored to be named the next Music and Artistic Director of the @nyphilharmonic, joining a legacy that includes Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein.”
He went on to say, “I gaze with joy and excitement at the world that lies before me in New York City, and with pride and love at the world.” Dudamel added, “All of us are united in our belief that culture creates a better world, and in our dream that music is a fundamental right. I look forward to the work ahead.”
The news came just hours after the celebrated conductor was announced as part of the Hollywood Bowl’s 2023 season, where he will share duties with some of the top conductors in the world and, for one weekend, composer John Williams.
New Yorkers certainly have an understanding of what they are getting, in scoring this coup to take Dudamel away from the west coast. Asked the New York Times in a headline for a commentary by the newspaper’s classical music critic: “Will Gustavo Dudamel Be New York’s New Bernstein?” Critic Zachary Woolfe wrote that landing him “is a seismic event for the city’s cultural scene.”
NY Phil Board Co-Chairmen Peter May and Oscar Tang said: “We are thrilled to welcome Gustavo Dudamel as the next music and artistic director of the New York Philharmonic. Building on this orchestra’s great legacy, he joins a historic list of distinguished music directors. On behalf of the board of directors, we are delighted that Gustavo Dudamel has said yes to leading our artistic future.”
NY Phil president-CEO Deborah Borda, who was on the board of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2010, said, “This is a dream come true for our musicians, our audience, and certainly for me. The coming together of a great orchestra, a visionary music and artistic director, and our transformed hall promises the richest of futures.”
Dudamel has emerged as the rare, widely recognized face of classical music.
He has been in California since he was 28, taking over from Esa-Pekka Salonen as the L.A. Philharmonic’s music director in 2009 and adding the title of artistic director in 2015.
His move to New York will be a great loss. The conductor is considered such a celebrity that, in 2019, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“He can walk down the street and he’s a celebrity,” says Graham Parker, president of Universal Music’s classics division, which includes the label to which Dudamel is signed, Deutsche Grammophon. “That’s a very exciting thing for classical music, that someone is recognized outside the classical world. He has the ability to connect with the Phil’s audience and the Spanish-speaking community and get great respect from the artistic community. He has that complete package.”
As part of his legacy in Los Angeles, Dudamel started the Dudamel Fellows to provide opportunities for young conductors from around the world to develop their craft through personal mentorship and participation in the LA Phil’s orchestral, education and community programs.