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Dudamel debuts with L.A. Phil at Bowl

October 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Saturday night, the curly-haired conductor who's taking Los Angeles by storm will come full circle. Four years ago, Gustavo Dudamel made his United States debut as a guest at the Hollywood Bowl. He returns to the Bowl for his first official appearance as music director of the L.A. Philharmonic.The conductor isn't much older than his musicians. Gustavo Dudamel leads the EXPO Center Youth Orchestra in rehearsal for its Hollywood Bowl debut at the concert celebrating the young maestro's arrival.

There are no more free tickets for the "Bienvenido Gustavo" Saturday concert. But you can see it from home.

L.A. Phil created the youth orchestra two years ago, giving free instruments and lessons to students aged 7 to 16, modeling the program like the system called El Sistema in Venezuela, where Dudamel got his start.

Earlier this week, Dudamel faced the international media's attention, watching his debut as the Phil's music director.

"I'm really, really, really very happy," said Dudamel. "I think we will have a beautiful journey. It will be like to go to the stars."

After Saturday's concert, Dudamel will conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in its season gala concert on October 8. And demand for those tickets was so great, they've added an outdoor simulcast on eight big screens at the Music Center Plaza.

"We are calling a new audience to come here," said Dudamel. "Classical music is cool."

For now, the rehearsals are virtually non-stop. Big-name musical artists will precede the youth orchestra's performance, followed by the L.A. Phil, performing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

"Dudamania" demanded another first: Saturday's concert will be the first live performance webcast from the Hollywood Bowl. The whole world has the chance to watch.

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