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Gustavo Dudamel: His debut is complete

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¡Bienvenido, Gustavo! indeed.

Last night completed the welcome week for 28-year-old Gustavo Dudamel, the Venezuelan conducting wunderkind who took his official bow as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The two-pronged debut wrapped up with a tony gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall – a pricey affair that served as a bracket to the free event that drew a capacity crowd Oct. 3 in the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater.

The two performances highlighted the scope of Mr. Dudamel's appeal, and ambition: The Hollywood Bowl crowd of 18,000 Angelenos, many of whom stood in line for hours to nab a ticket, featured community groups from local schools as well as an eclectic mix of music, from gospel to jazz and ethnic styles as well as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Last night was strictly high-toned, black tie-and-tails classical music. While the now-familiar image of an ecstatic young musician has been plastered all over Los Angeles for the past weeks, a sober Dudamel wordlessly mounted the podium and brought down the baton barely addressing the thunderous audience response.


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