Gustavo Dudamel celebrates 30th birthday in Germany with L.A. Philharmonic

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Culture Monster would like to extend to Gustavo Dudamel our best wishes on his 30th birthday today: ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! But because the conductor is in Germany as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s European tour, perhaps it would be more appropriate to say: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

Dudamel is in his second season as the music director of the L.A. Phil -- and if he were here in Los Angeles, we would wish him a plain old Happy Birthday. Dudamel is also the artistic head of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden -- so a ‘Grattis på födelsedagen!’ is also in order.

The international maestro has been in Cologne, Germany, for the last two days for a series of concerts with the L.A. Phil. On Thursday, he and the orchestra will be in London for two concerts and will continue on to Paris, Budapest and Vienna.

The L.A. Phil has been performing two separate programs for this tour, with music by Beethoven, Mahler, Bernstein and John Adams.


The reviews have been trickling in from the orchestra’s first two stops in Lisbon and Madrid. Here is what some of the critics have said:

The music critic of Spain’s El País was impressed with Dudamel, but not overwhelmed. He wrote that Dudamel ‘chose to give priority to structural clarity in dealing’ with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, while playing it conservative in the first two movements of the piece. ‘His was not a unforgettable Ninth, but neat, honest, transparent, compact and powerful,’ wrote the critic. ‘The passage of time will contribute to a deeper, multidimensional reading.’ A reviewer for Spain’s La Razón had a more critical take on Dudamel, somewhat pejoratively calling the young conductor a ‘disciple’ of Italian conductor Claudio Abbado. The reviewer wrote that the orchestra’s performance of Mahler’s Ninth had brilliant passages, but that there lacked a certain degree of ‘emotional continuity.’ In addition, the reviewer wrote that the L.A. Phil is a ‘good orchestra’ but not quite as good as the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.


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-- David Ng

Photo (top): Gustavo Dudamel. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Photo (bottom): Dudamel, backstage at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times