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Acclaimed Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Talks Music, Career As He Visits South Coast For Concert

Acclaimed conductor Gustavo Dudamel rehearsing for a Music Academy of the West concert

It’s billed as a “Community Concert,” but not many communities could bring together an orchestra of some of the country’s most promising music students to perform under one of the most acclaimed conductors.

At Santa Barbara’s Granada Theater, the young musicians have been rehearsing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Gustavo Dudamel for Saturday night's Music Academy of the West Community Concert.

While it’s an incredible learning experience for the Academy’s students, the Venezuelan conductor says working with the young musician invigorates him.

Dudamel first emerged on the international music scene in the 1990’s, winning a number of competitions.

In 2007, he was named music director for the LA Philharmonic. Known for bringing cutting edge music to audiences, he talks about the challenges of balancing popular works with new compositions. He says while audiences often demand familiar works, he tries to use them to filter in new pieces.

Dudamel has done everything from conducting for the Pope, and at the Super Bowl, to leading an orchestra for the soundtrack of one of the “Star War” movies. Despite his long track record, at 37 he’s still a relative youngster in the classical music world, with many conductors in the 50’s and 60’s.

He says he even loves everything about his career, even the daily adventures of rehearsals. Dudamel says he treats each moment of music as something to be savored on its own. The conductor’s relative youth, and enthusiasm has been credited with helping to attract younger audiences. Dudamel says bringing classical music to more people is an important personal mission. He feels the arts are a right for everyone to experience.

Saturday night’s concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl turned into the hottest ticket in town. The Music Academy of The West offered tickets for $10 each, with kids for free, and it’s a sellout. The concert involving more than 200 musicians is a tribute to the community for battling back from the recent fires, and flood. While the Saturday night concert is a sellout, if you don’t have a ticket you catch Dudamel in action Tuesday night, when he will conduct the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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