Gustavo Dudamel's skillful conducting first drew international attention when he was just in his twenties. As a child, he began violin lessons in Venezuela's El Sistema music program, taking up conducting in 1995. In 1999 he was named music director of the program's Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra and won the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Competition in 2004. He became a highly sought-after orchestral and opera conductor and music director of the Gothenburg Symphony (2007-2012). Deutsche Grammophon signed him in 2005, issuing video and digital only releases along with CDs every year. Dudamel has been music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since the 2009-2010 season. He continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony, sometimes bringing the two orchestras together for projects, and guest conducts widely. Dudamel is El Sistema's most famous alumnus and advocate. He remains steadfastly committed to inspiring others and making music accessible to all. ~ Patsy Morita
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