My Favorite Weekend: Gustavo Dudamel


No city loves its stars quite like Los Angeles, and no star has felt that embrace more warmly in recent years than Gustavo Dudamel, artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The 29-year-old Venezuelan’s first season wielding the baton here quite simply turned the town on its music-loving ear, and the love fest resumes this weekend with the first of three special performances at the Hollywood Bowl.

On Sunday, he’ll conduct a concert version of Bizet’s “Carmen,” with Natasha Petrinksy singing the title role. Tuesday’s program includes Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with pianist Gabriela Montero, and selections from Bernstein’s “On the Town.” And on Thursday, in his final Bowl concert of the summer, Dudamel and company will perform international works that includes Ravel’s “Bolero.”

Meanwhile, when he’s not wearing the tux, here’s how the maestro orchestrates his weekends.

Visions of home

For breakfast or lunch, I usually like eating at my home in the Hollywood Hills, which reminds me of the hills back in Caracas. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a year and have great views of this incredible city. Another good place for a view of Southern California is the Griffith Park Observatory. It also helps that it’s close to where I live and work.

If I did go out for breakfast or lunch, I might go to the Village Coffee Shop in Beachwood Canyon. It reminds me of what Southern California is all about. It’s in a great neighborhood, it’s close to the Hollywood sign and it’s near my house!

One of my favorite restaurants for dinner is the Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel. It has a wonderful menu, a mixture of modern and traditional tapas.

Work is a workout

People ask me where I exercise and I tell them, “Right at the podium!” I get such a great aerobic workout when I’m conducting that I really don’t need to find any other time to exercise.

Noteworthy sites

For the best place to hear music, I think it’s a tie between Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl is special to me because I made my U.S. debut there in 2005, and Disney Hall is special to me too, because I think it’s one of the most perfect places to play music in the world.

That’s entertainment

I always enjoy shopping at Amoeba Music on Sunset in Hollywood. It’s the most amazing record store. You can find almost anything you want and it’s open late, so I can pop in after a great movie at the ArcLight next door. My wife and I love going to movies there, especially the amazing Cinerama Dome.

I still haven’t been able to explore the bars and lounges of Los Angeles too much, but it’s something I’m certainly looking forward to. I love a good margarita!