Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela | Concert preview
Gustavo Dudamel dazzles with the vaunted Venezuelan youth orchestra.
Gustavo Dudamel has the charisma of a rock star. The curly-haired conducting prodigy’s rapid rise to fame has been cheered by classical champs including Daniel Barenboim and Simon Rattle, who lavished the 31-year-old Dudamel with high praise at the onset of his career. The Venezuelan native brings electric energy to the podium, blending formidable technical skill with an exuberant performance style.
The magnetic maestro’s musical leadership currently spans three continents: He’s in his fourth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, serves as principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden and since 1999 has been the artistic director of Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra. Dudamel snagged the position at the ripe age of 18, generating comparisons to another young, hotshot baton brandisher known for his extroverted style: Leonard Bernstein.
SBSO was once Venezuela’s national youth orchestra, but with many members pushing 30, the mantle has been passed to the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra. Yet the musicians of the SBSO still play with all the fire and fizz of youth, as they’ll demonstrate in the orchestra’s first Symphony Center performance in three years. The program features Mexican composer Carlos Chávez’s Sinfonía india, Cuban composer Julián Orbón’s Tres versiones sinfónicas and Strauss’s mammoth masterpiece An Alpine Symphony. The latter depicts the ascent and descent of an Alpine peak across 22 sections, summoning a majestic vision. It’s the ideal canvas for Dudamel and his dazzling orchestra.