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Conductor Gustavo Dudamel will leave Los Angeles for the New York Philharmonic



That's Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. But he's on the move. The famed Venezuelan conductor is going to the New York Philharmonic in 2026. It's a big loss for LA. Fans there welcomed him with a 10-minute standing ovation at his inaugural concert in 2009. Dudamel has become one of the most respected and sought after conductors in the world. Joining us now is Deborah Borda, who helped raise the LA Phil's profile by signing Dunham when he was just 26 years old. Now she's the president and CEO of the New York Phil and got him to head east. Good morning.

DEBORAH BORDA: Good morning. How are you?

FADEL: I'm doing well. So you signed him in LA, you head to New York, and you bring him to New York. What is it about him?

BORDA: Oh, there are so many things that are remarkable about Gustavo Dudamel. But I think, No. 1, it's his ability to communicate with both musicians and audiences and to express pure joy in music. And this is something that we simply can't quite put into words. But it's electric. It's spontaneous combustion.

FADEL: Was he the top of your list?

BORDA: He was the only person on our list.


FADEL: Now, the New York Phil, I mean, it's been led by some of the biggest names in classical music. How do you think Dudamel will approach the job?

BORDA: You're right. It is some of the biggest names in classical music - Arturo Toscanini, Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein. But this will be the Dudamel era. Gustavo Dudamel is a fully blown artist and man, and this will be his time. He will invent it for the 21st century. And he has one of the great orchestras in the world and now a magnificent new hall. So I think New Yorkers can just hold their breath in anticipation of what is to come. But we know what he will think about is how to integrate a symphony orchestra into the fabric of a city. How do we discover the intersection between the artistic imperative and the social imperative? And he's a person who crosses all lines. This is one of the things we saw out in Los Angeles, from the moment he came, his ability to adapt within popular culture. But, more importantly, he is a profound musician. And in the end, that's what we look for, and that's what audiences look for.

FADEL: Now, you've known Gustavo Dudamel for decades. You signed him at 26 years old in LA. How have you seen him grow as an artist?

BORDA: Yes. We met - I met Gustavo a long time ago. You know, when I first met him, he won the international Mahler Competition at age 23. It was the greatest single Mahler "5" (ph) I had ever heard. And now, of course, Mahler "5" is very popular with the movie "Tar." And when I first saw him conduct, it was simply the greatest talent I'd ever seen. It's 100-year talent. So it was his development from there. At age 14, he could conduct all the Beethoven and Mahler symphonies from memory because he was music director of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra at age 12. He's a remarkable guy.

FADEL: Deborah Borda is the president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic, where Gustavo Dudamel will become music and artistic director in 2026. Thank you.

BORDA: Thanks so much.

FADEL: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Leila Fadel.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.