Gustavo Dudamel is driven by the belief that music has the power to transform lives, to inspire, 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 underserved communities.
With the COVID-19 global pandemic shutting down the majority 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, composer John Williams, his wife, actress María Valverde.
Dudamel also participated in Global Citizen’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 guest artists Shakira, Coldplay, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Usher, and more, was viewed by millions of people worldwide and raised $6.9 billion dollars to provide COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines to the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.
Upcoming projects include 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 will host a six-episode PBS television series on KCET entitled “In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl”, which highlights key moments from the past ten years of performances at the historic LA Phil 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 concert films, interviews, essays, playlists and artwork.
A lifelong advocate for music education and social development through art, Dudamel himself 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 (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) which now serves over 1,300 musicians providing young people with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support, and leadership training. In the 2020/21 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.