Los Angeles’s Philharmonic is going to have a new conductor come 2027. Gustavo Dudamel announced Tuesday that he will leave LA to join the New York Philharmonic after his contract ends in 2026. The Venezuelan conductor is credited for leading the L.A. Phil to prominence, per LA Times.
The music and artistic director said the decision was “difficult,” and, “extremely complex.” He assured fans that his focus and heart will stay in Los Angeles for the remaining three seasons he has left on his contract. “My time with the LA Phil has been, and will continue to be, the most transformative period of my life,” Dudamel announced Tuesday.
“I have learned so much, grown so much, and together we have created something truly unique and beautiful — not only with this incredible orchestra, but in the community that we have built around ourselves, from Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, to The Ford, and beyond,” he added.
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He will be 45 when he moves, which will wrap up 17 years as the music director in the city of angels. With everything he’s learned, the conductor is ready to take to New York, with the Venezuelan calling their Philharmonic “a very different animal” and a different situation. “The challenge is very interesting,” he said.
As for who will take his place, Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Executive Chad Smith said, “The search for our next music director will be conducted with this same spirit as we define the future of our organization.”
Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and took up the violin at an early age. He began studying conducting in 1995 and was appointed music director of the national youth orchestra of Venezuela, Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, in 1999. He won several competitions and accepted invitations to conduct orchestras for a variety of groups for the following years.
The artist made his United States conducting debut with the LA Philharmonic on September 13, 2005, and was invited back to conduct the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in January 2007. A few months later in April, the LA Phil appointed him the next music director, effective with the 2009–2010 season. His contract was extended in 2011, again in 2015, and most recently in January 2020, through the 2025-2026 season,