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Gustavo Dudamel's Biography

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Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981, and grew up on the fringes of Barquisimeto in the Venezuelan interior.

His father played salsa trombone.

Gustavo Dudamel came through El Sistema, an inspiring initiative of José Antonio Abreu, also known as Venezuela's National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras, which was set up to help children from poor backgrounds.

Gustavo Dudamel played the violin, and whilst a teenager, led El Sistema's the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra.

At 23 he won the Gustav Mahler conducting competition in Germany.

In 2005, Gustavo Dudamel made his Los Angeles Philharmonic conducting debut.

In 2007, he was appointed the principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony of Sweden. Soon after, the Los Angeles Philharmonic appointed him Esa-Pekka Salonen's successor as conductor and musical director.

In 2009, Gustavo Dudamel made the TIME 100 list.

Simon Rattle once described Dudamel as "the most astonishingly gifted conductor he has ever met."

Gustavo Dudamel told The Telegraph, about what makes a good conductor: "You can learn technique, but a conductor is a leader, a person whom players will follow. You can be the best musician in the world, but the instinct to keep the attention of hundreds of people is impossible to learn. It's something natural. I think this is the secret of a good conductor."

In February 2011, The Los Angeles Philharmonic announced that they had extended Dudamel's contract through the 2019-20 season.

Useful sources on Gustavo Dudamel: The Guardian's article Orchestral Manoeuvres is particularly strong on El Sistema; see also, a New York Times profile of Dudamel

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