Gustavo Dudamel gears up for 2010-11 L.A. Philharmonic season

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The party tents are set up. Crews have cleaned the soot off Walt Disney Concert Hall. And the freak Southern California rain appears to have dissipated, as if on cue.

Thursday evening, Gustavo Dudamel is set to kick off the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2010-11 season with a gala concert at Disney Hall, featuring tenor Juan Diego Flórez.

[Updated 2:10 p.m.] A spokeswoman for the L.A. Philharmonic said Thursday that the orchestra has made late modifications to the program for timing reasons. Instead of six pieces by Rossini, there will now be four, including the overture to ‘The Thieving Magpie’ and ‘Semiramide.’ The orchestra will also perform several pieces by Latin American composers, such as Arturo Márquez’s ‘Danzón No. 2.’

As is custom, the concert is scheduled to be followed by a big bash on Grand Avenue -- which is to be closed to traffic around Disney Hall -- during which donors, musicians and celebrities are expected to mingle and rub elbows.


The last few weeks have been busy for Dudamel. The conductor arrived in L.A. after having performed a series of concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic that recently ended at Carnegie Hall in New York. The concerts included performances of Rossini’s overture to ‘La gazza ladra,’ Orbón’s ‘Tres versiones sinfónicas,’ Bernstein’s ‘Divertimento for Orchestra’ and Ravel’s ‘Pavane pour une infante défunte’ and ‘Boléro.’

The conductor also performed with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland and, of all places, in Kentucky for the World Equestrian Games.

The New York Times’ James R. Oestreich wrote that the Vienna Philharmonic under Dudamel ‘played with a kind of gusto that few others can match, those patented string tremolos threatening to spark fire.’ The reviewer added that Dudamel managed to coax ‘these traditionally minded Germanic players into the sinuous melodies’ of Bernstein and Orbón.

On top of all that, Dudamel announced to the L.A. Philharmonic this week that his wife, Eloísa Maturén, is expecting a baby boy, due in the spring.

This month at Disney Hall, the conductor will perform a series of concerts with pianist Emanuel Ax, featuring music by Beethoven, Schumann and Weber. He will also conduct Messiaen’s ‘Turangalîla-symphonie’ in a series of concerts later this month.

Check back with Culture Monster on Friday for Times music critic Mark Swed’s review of the gala concert, as well as for photos from the after-concert party.

-- David Ng


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Gustavo Dudamel finds time to unwind in L.A.