NEW YORK, Feb 8, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Acclaimed conductor Gustavo Dudamel will lead the New York Philharmonic for five years from 2026, the orchestra announced Tuesday.
Dudamel, 42, will leave the Los Angeles Philharmonic to become the New York Phil's music and artistic director.
The Venezuelan maestro will become the 27th conductor to preside over America's oldest orchestra and its first Latino leader.
He will follow in the illustrious footsteps of music giants Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein.
"I am grateful to the musicians and leadership of the New York Philharmonic as we embark upon this new and beautiful journey together," Dudamel said in a statement.
Dudamel, recognizable by his curly hair, has held the same position at the Los Angeles Phil since 2009.
He is also music director of the Opera National de Paris and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
Dudamel, the son of a trombonist and voice teacher, is a product of the illustrious Venezuelan musical education program known as "El Sistema."
Considered one of the most talented conductors in the world, critics say Dudamel is as comfortable conducting a Mahler symphony as he is music of Star Wars or Steven Spielberg's version of "West Side Story."
In 2016, he conducted the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra in a duet with Coldplay during the Super Bowl's half-time concert.
The recruiting of Dudamel is seen as a major coup for the New York Phil -- founded in 1842 -- following its recent $550 million renovation of its venue, David Geffen Hall, at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan.
The hall, which reopened this season, has a new design and much improved acoustics.
Dudamel will take on the role of music director designate in the 2025-26 season before adopting the lead role in season 2026-27.
He will get a taste of his future surroundings this spring when he guest conducts three performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 9.
The New York Phil's current director, Dutchman Jaap van Zweden, had already announced that his tenure would end after the 2023-24 season.