I had a hot ticket this past weekend–to the L.A. Philharmonic! Not at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, mind you. Those seats were long gone. But for $22 apiece, we got front-row, 360-degree access to a full-scale orchestral performance (including rehearsal footage and post-concert interviews), beamed live to our local theater. I’m no music critique, but may I just say: I was totally swept away!
Gustavo Dudamel seemed equally thrilled to take part in this high-definition, simulcast concert. It’s part, in fact, of our protégé conductor’s ongoing efforts to bring quality performances to a wider audience. Watch his eyes light up as describes this musical initiative!
From the moment Gustavo landed in the City of Angels (back in 2009) his presence generated a lot of excitement. His genius is readily apparent, and his dimpled smile is infectious. But the thing that impressed me initially—and stays with me even now—is the passion with which he speaks about providing orchestral opportunities to everyone, youth especially, whether in his home country of Venezuela or on the streets of Los Angeles. Despite the magnitude of his official duties, he’s never lost sight of those goals. He works tirelessly with disadvantaged youths, providing them with musical instruments and encouraging them to play. Watch this video clip, in which ABC News names him Person of the Week. His every footstep falls in line with his vision–that’s clear. “Music is a human right,” he says, “and everyone deserves access. Particularly, kids.”
When I was a young girl, music lifted me out of my impoverished circumstances. It helped me imagine other realms, and to work toward a brighter future. As an adult, music still offers that same magic, at least for me. So I’m offering up huge round of applause to Gustavo Dudamel: the man who wields a conductor’s baton and magician’s wand with equal aplomb. May his star shine brightly for a long time to come, on stage and out of the public spotlight.