Friday, February 10, 2023

musical chairs

I had to read the classical music blogs to learn that Gustavo Dudamel has been appointed next music director of the New York Philharmonic. After a meteoric rise to fame, as such things are counted within that world, Dudamel was appointed to his first directorship, of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, when he was only 26 (although he didn't take over for a couple more years). He's been there ever since, and I've been down there to hear him a couple of times. Now he's 42, pretty well established (though there are some critical circles who don't like him, as is always the way), but when his appointment takes effect in a couple more years, he'll be leaving for the greener pastures of New York. I'm sorry he's going, but on the other hand the NYP seems deliriously happy to have him, especially as their current leader turned out rather ehhh.

What I haven't seen mentioned is that Dudamel is following uncannily in the footsteps of Zubin Mehta, also a youthful sensation in his day, who also became music director in LA at the age of 26, who also had a huge impact on the orchestra, and who also decamped for the NYP at 42. (Though in his case those were the ages it actually happened.) Mehta then stayed in New York for 13 years, less time than he'd spent in LA but long by NYP standards, but I don't recall hearing much about his impact there. I have recordings he made in LA (I learned Holst's The Planets from one of his), but none from NY.

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