Monday, April 09, 2007

New York Times... Subdued... Response To LA Phil's Get!

I assume the somewhat... perfunctory... article about LA's scoring the conductor of the century while an increasingly provincial New York Phil struggles to find a new conductor to replace one who has long worn out his welcome is due to a... serious case of conductor envy.

April 9, 2007
New York TImes
Maestro of Los Angeles Philharmonic to Pass the Baton to a Wunderkind

Esa-Pekka Salonen, the onetime wunderkind from Finland who has led the Los Angeles Philharmonic as music director for 15 seasons, has decided to leave the orchestra when his term ends in 2009. His successor? A wunderkind from Venezuela named Gustavo Dudamel, one of the hottest — and youngest — conducting properties around.

Mr. Dudamel, 26, is a product of his country’s extraordinary youth orchestra system, founded three decades ago to help disadvantaged youngsters. It has grown into a network of scores of ensembles, training hundreds of thousands of musicians. He is music director of its capstone, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, which he joined as a violinist at 11.

In the last few years Mr. Dudamel, who becomes principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony of Sweden next season, has had the world’s major orchestras in hot pursuit. He has had, or is scheduled to have, guest appearances at the Berlin, New York and Vienna Philharmonics, the London Philharmonia and the Boston and Chicago Symphonies. He also records for Deutsche Grammophon. His United States debut came with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the Hollywood Bowl, in 2005.

His influential mentors include the conductors Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Claudio Abbado.

When he takes over as music director in Los Angeles in September 2009, Mr. Dudamel will be all of 28, three years younger than Mr. Salonen was when he won the job.

Mr. Salonen, now 48 and also the product of a country that places great weight on musical education, said he wanted to devote more time to composition. Under his leadership the orchestra has won acclaim for its playing and inventive programming.

The change was reported yesterday in The Los Angeles Times.

Other major American orchestras are in the throes of a conductor search, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the choice of Mr. Dudamel may put pressure on them to come up with daring and youthful choices of their own.

Mr. Dudamel’s contract is for five years. He begins in September 2009. In his first season he will conduct for 10 weeks and increase to 14 weeks after that.

While other articles have raved - at length - on Dudamel's brilliance - the best the New York Times could muster was a... brief... phrase in the middle of one sentence - describing him as "one of the hottest — and youngest - "

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