Acclaimed Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel resigned on May 25 as head of music at the Paris Opera citing “personal reasons” after two years in the job and months after being appointed to the New York Philharmonic.
“It is with a heavy heart, and after deep reflection, that I announce my resignation from the post of Music Director of the Paris Opera. to spend more time with my family“said in a statement the renowned artist, who arrived at the Parisian institution in 2021 for a six-year contract.
“We live in a time that, I believe, has profoundly and intimately transformed our beings,” he added. “I have no other projects than being with my relatives,” said the 42-year-old teacher, married to the Spanish actress María Valverde and father of a child with his previous partner, the Venezuelan ex-dancer Eloísa Maturén.
(You may want to read: Dudamel, ready to revolutionize music from the New York Philharmonic)
In February, the New York Philharmonic named him its future artistic and music director beginning in 2026. Dudamel, one of the world’s highest-paid and best-known conductors, has also conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009.
“I thank Gustavo Dudamel, whose passion and immense talent contributed so much to the repertoire of our house,” reacted the general director of the Paris Opera, Alexander Neef, in the statement.
“Gustavo Dudamel is an immense musician. I express my deep appreciation for the work done during his tenure, and I fully respect his decision”he added.
From a very young age, Dudamel was labeled a prodigy and has earned applause and fame throughout the world for his expressive gestures when conducting, moving with emotion, closing his eyes, jumping and brandishing the baton from one side to the other, while his leafy and rebellious hair, follows the rhythm.
work with youth
Regarding fame, the renowned musician seems not to give it too much importance. “I don’t consider myself a superstar. I obviously have the opportunity to work with great pop artists and it’s a privilege for me,” he said in an interview with AFP in September.
Dudamel was born in Barquisimeto (Lara, west) on January 26, 1981, the son of a trombonist and a singing teacher. He himself tells that as a child he conducted an imaginary toy orchestra before taking up the violin as an instrument.
A fervent defender of broad access to culture, the Venezuelan musician is the clearest product and illustrious representative of ‘El Sistema’, the famous System of Children’s and Youth Orchestras of Venezuela, a musical education project for children from popular classes founded in 1975.
“Part of my DNA is to work with young people, to take the orchestra to the communities” because music must be a “tool for social transformation,” he said at the end of February, at the official presentation for his position at the New York Philharmonic. , with whom he has a five-year contract starting in 2026.
The musician has always tried to stay out of the polarized Venezuelan politics. However, after touring the world with the Simón Bolívar orchestra, he was often seen conducting large government events, including Hugo Chávez’s funeral.
(You may be interested in: “Democracy is the only solution for Venezuela”: Dudamel)
The spell ended when in 2017 he took a stand against President Nicolás Maduro. He then criticized the brutal repression against protests that left some 200 dead. Shortly after, a tour with the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra was canceled and Dudamel did not appear again in official acts.
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