Called "the most talked-about young musician in the world" by The New York Times and "the most astonishingly gifted conductor I have ever come across" by Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel has burst onto the international music scene with a passion and fervor that is reinventing classical music. He launched his career in the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in his native Venezuela, and has been the ensemble's conductor for over a decade.
Dudamel explains his connection with the music of Tchaikovsky, "Even though Venezuela is far away from Russia, Tchaikovsky is part of our culture, a part of our education...It has something to do with the fact that when you play Tchaikovsky, you can fall in love with it immediately." Dudamel's infatuation is clearly contagious - the musicians that play under him perform with the same insatiable zeal as their dynamo conductor, inspired to play with a maturity far beyond their years.
The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel are the most public faces of El Sistema, the music education program that has put instruments in the hands of almost half a million young, mostly impoverished Venezuelans.