Points of view

Gustavo Dudamel: directing the orchestra is to dance slightly in advance

03.01.2019 | By PAOLO BOCCHI

“Gustavo Dudamel is 37 years old and has been conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra since he was only 28. A child prodigy. And not only. A conductor who understood that music is not ideology, but pure joy. To share. Listening”

Gustavo Dudamel is a bit like the Michael Jackson of classical music.
Here is the reason, in a nutshell.
Looking carefully at Michael Jackson’s videos, in particular some of these, such as the famous Thriller or the equally famous Bad, you notice, with envy and amazement, how Michael manages, dancing, to anticipate the upcoming beat, moving his body “just a moment before” the drums (or any other instrument) decrees the moment in which, the rest of the mere mortals, will move, in unison, dancing.
Ahead of time.
A slight anticipation that makes the difference between a star and the world.
Gustavo Dudamel is a star. He is a conductor.
Indeed, he is one of the most famous conductors on this planet.

 

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Dudamel is defined by many as a true “savior of classical music”.
And here’s what he says about his way of conducting an orchestra:
“Directing the orchestra is a sort of strange dance. You move your body not responding to music, but anticipating it, by a breath. To do this, you need to have an innate and perfect “sense of time” inside. This means that you have to be able to “feel” every single note a moment before it is played by the orchestra. If you repeat this “anticipation” for the duration of a symphony, you quickly understand one of the complex characteristics of my hard work”.

 

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Gustavo Dudamel has always been a child prodigy. At the age of 28, he managed to direct the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The temple in which he performs, and in which the public has always flocked to listen to the notes of his orchestra, is the magical and silvery reflective architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, thought, designed and created by one of the masters of contemporary architecture, Frank O’ Gehry. The average salary of a Philharmonic musician is about $150,000, a concertmaster can take home about $ 500,000, Mr. Dudamel earns more than $ 3 million a year. Dizzying figures, when combined with classical music. Figures that also speak of about 170 million dollars earned in just one year by the same Los Angeles Philharmonic performing around the world. Given these figures, and given the nationality of Dudamel, born in Venezuela, often journalists, and not only them, ask him how he feels, to be so rich while his country is plagued by disastrous political-economic conditions. Dudamel replies, with simplicity, that “Music must never be associated with an ideology. Music is joy. Music must above all unite. This is the message”.
It is the same message that his recently deceased master, José Antonio Abreu, taught him: “Music is joy, it is an opportunity to make the world better, and must be able to speak to everyone, with no distinction”

 

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Today, at 37 years old, and with his hair starting to turn gray, Gustavo Dudamel doesn’t forget the words of his master. And always remembers, reminding himself first of all, that the most important thing in life is to know how to listen.
Knowing how to listen to “the other”.
Knowing how to listen to “others”.
If we could do it “a moment before”, we would all probably live much, much better.