Gustavo Dudamel’s contract with L.A. Phil extended to 2022

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic during a recent performance at Disney Hall.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic during a recent performance at Disney Hall.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

If there was any risk that New York City would sing a siren’s song to Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic appears to have sailed safely past.

The Phil announced Friday that it has extended its star conductor’s contract until mid-2022, effectively taking him off the table as a plausible option for the New York Philharmonic, where Alan Gilbert is due to step down from his position as music director in 2017.

The announcement came while the orchestra is on an Asian tour that is to end Sunday in Tokyo.


Dudamel’s extension adds three years to his current contract, which ran through mid-2019. He’s in his sixth season as music director, having begun in 2009-10 when he took the baton from Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The extension means that Dudamel, who’s also music director of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in his home country of Venezuela, will lead the Phil for at least 13 seasons. The orchestra did not disclose financial terms; Dudamel earned $1.44 million in 2012, according to the Phil’s most recent public tax filing.

In 2011, less than two seasons into his tenure, the Phil tore up his initial five-season pact and doubled it to 10. That ensured he’d preside over the orchestra’s centennial celebration in 2019.

Dudamel said in a written statement accompanying the announcement that “we have an unparalleled situation in the world of classical music today: great musicians, a strong community base” and what the conductor characterized as “amazing” administrators and “two iconic venues” in Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

“Conducting in the City of Angels is a magical experience, and I owe so much to so many Angels and Angelenos,” Dudamel’s statement said.

Speaking as chairman of the orchestra’s musicians committee, cellist Barry Gold said that “this is great news for all of us at the L.A. Phil. The immediate camaraderie and respect from the beginning between Gustavo and the musicians has continued to grow over our years together, resulting in incredible music making.”


The extension comes as Dudamel, 34, faces an impending divorce from his wife of nine years, Eloisa Maturen. They filed for a divorce early this month in Los Angeles Superior Court. Their only child, Martin Dudamel Maturen, was born in L.A. in 2011.

The couple has had a Los Angeles home since Dudamel became music director; in January he bought a new $2.4-million home in L.A., in his name alone.

Going forward, Dudamel will add a second title -- artistic director. Orchestra spokeswoman Sophie Jefferies said in an email that the new title won’t change Dudamel’s job, but reflects how he already has changed the common conception of what a music director does. She said that Dudamel’s commitment to the community and music education for kids -- he’s brought Venezuela’s youth music program, El Sistema, to L.A. -- “has reinvigorated ... what a music director can be.”

The Phil recently announced promotions for two of its top administrators.

Chad Smith was elevated from vice president of artistic planning to chief operating officer, which the Phil said would include continuing to oversee artistic matters as well as education.

Gail Samuel was promoted from chief operating officer to executive director. She’ll fill in for President Deborah Borda, the Phil’s top executive, during a four-month sabbatical starting in September in which Borda will lend her expertise to a Harvard University program in nonprofit leadership.

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