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The Dude’s Hollywood Debut

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On October 12, WQXR presents the debut concert by Gustavo Dudamel, the 28-year-old music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The program features Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major and the world premiere of City Noir.

On Monday, October 12 at 8 pm, WQXR presents Gustavo Dudamel's much-anticipated debut concert. The 28-year-old is the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Recorded Thursday, October 8 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the program features Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D Major and the world premiere of City Noir, a new work by Pulitzer-prize winning American composer John Adams.

"For all the sheer energy of the music-making, here was a probing, rigorous and richly characterized interpretation, which Mr. Dudamel conducted from memory," New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini wrote of the Mahler performance.

John Adams's City Noir is inspired by the peculiar mood and ambience of "noir" films set in Los Angeles, especially those produced in the late forties and early fifties. The composer writes, "The ‘feeling tone’ of the newspaper articles, pulp fiction, movies and film music of the era suggested a symphonic work that might view the strange sensibility of 'noir' through the refracted lens of modern orchestral sound and structure." More details on the 30-minute work can be found on Mr. Adams’ web site.

'The Dude' Arrives

The arrival of Gustavo Dudamel, widely known as 'The Dude' in music circles, is being greeted with tremendous buzz in the classical music world and beyond. The Venezuelan with the wild mane of curly hair is expected to inspire young audiences with his youthful energy and accomplished resumé. The opening concert won a 10-minute standing ovation and rave reviews from critics.

Gustavo Dudamel is a product of Venezuela's "El Sistema" ("the system"), a visionary music education system which teaches poor children classical music. The son of two musicians, he began his career in music as a violinist before making his way to conducting. He went on to head Venezuela's Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra and soon captured the attention of many of the world's top maestros, including Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. He made his U.S. debut in 2005, leading the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Dudamel was courted by major orchestras, including Chicago Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He reportedly chose the Los Angeles Philharmonic in part because he and his wife, Eloísa Maturén, felt comfortable in the heavily Hispanic city.

As reported in the LA Times, buses in Los Angeles are plastered with the slogan “Eléctrico Gustavo” and electronic billboards flash the sign “Radiante Gustavo." A vendor outside the Disney Concert Hall was reportedly selling "Dude Dogs" with jalapeño and guacamole.

On October 20, Deutsche Grammophon will release the performance of Mahler’s First Symphony on iTunes. In addition, the entire performance will be broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances October 21 (check local listings), followed by a U.S. DVD release of the concert on Deutsche Grammophon in late November or early December.

AFP reports the star-studded event had the look of a Hollywood premiere with appearances by Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Sidney Poitier, novelist Judith Krantz, music producer Quincy Jones, and actors Don Johnson, Andy Garcia Rachel Griffiths and Angela Bassett.

Additional information:

Hear a 2008 interview with John Adams on WNYC’s Soundcheck.

Visit the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more details on Gustavo Dudamel's debut concert.

Gustavo Dudamel's Web site.

This broadcast comes to WQXR courtesy of KUSC in Los Angeles.