Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Walt and Lilly Disney Chair
Gustavo Dudamel is driven by the belief that music has the power to inspire, to transform lives and to change the world. Through his dynamic presence on the podium and his tireless advocacy for arts education, Dudamel has introduced classical music to new audiences around the world and has helped to provide access to the arts for countless young people in under-resourced communities.
With the COVID-19 global pandemic shutting down of live performances, Dudamel has committed even more time and energy to his mission of bringing music to young people across the globe, firm in his belief that the arts play an essential role in creating a more just, peaceful, and integrated society.
While quarantining in Los Angeles, he hosted a new radio program from his living room entitled At Home with Gustavo, sharing personal stories and musical selections as a way to bring people together during a time of isolation. The program was broadcast locally as well as internationally in both English and Spanish, with guest co-hosts including, among others, his wife—the actress María Valverde—and composer John Williams.
Dudamel also participated in Global Citizen’s Global Goal: Unite for Our Future TV fundraising special, giving a socially distanced performance from the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles). The event, also featuring Shakira, Coldplay, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Usher and more, was viewed by millions of people worldwide and raised $6.9 billion to provide COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines to the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities.
Other projects included a virtual version of the YOLA National Festival (alongside numerous other national and international educational events with YOLA), and the launch of his highly anticipated multimedia educational project “Symphony,” presented in collaboration with the “la Caixa Foundation,” beginning in Barcelona and touring throughout Spain later this year. Beginning in August 2020, Dudamel hosted a six-episode PBS television series on KCET entitled In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which highlights key moments from the past 10 years of performances at the LA Phil’s historic summer home. The program will be broadcast nationwide on PBS in early 2021. Dudamel also led the launch of the LA Phil’s digital streaming series, SOUND/STAGE, which premiered in September 2020, offering a mix of performances, interviews, essays, playlists, and artwork.
A lifelong advocate for music education and social development through art, Dudamel was shaped by his childhood experience with El Sistema, the extraordinary program and philosophy initiated in 1975 by Maestro José Antonio Abreu. Inspired by El Sistema, in 2007, Dudamel, the LA Phil and its community partners founded YOLA, which now serves more than 1,300 musicians, providing young people with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support and leadership training. In Spring 2021 season, YOLA will open its own permanent, purpose-built facility: The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, designed by architect Frank Gehry.