Gustavo Dudamel (photo: Danny Clinch)

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Mahler’s Second Symphony

“Why have you lived? Why have you suffered? Is it all some huge, awful joke?” These are elemental questions that Gustav Mahler tries to come to terms with in his Second Symphony. He summons up impressive forces, with large chorus and orchestra and overwhelming explosions of sound. Yet grotesque humour and yearning solo voices are also found within this immense expressive spectrum. The conductor of this performance is Gustavo Dudamel, who has appeared regularly as a Mahler interpreter with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2014 and thrills listeners with his enthusiasm and precision.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Gustavo Dudamel conductor

Nadine Sierra soprano

Okka von der Damerau mezzo-soprano

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Yuval Weinberg chorus master

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 2 in C minor “Resurrection”

Dates and Tickets

Biography

He was considered a child prodigy at the conductor’s desk. But Gustavo Dudamel says he owes his success solely to the visionary economist, musician and politician José Antonio Abreu, who founded Venezuela’s El Sistema in 1975. Just four decades later, around half a million children from predominantly socially disadvantaged families had received Venezuela’s unique music training. Dudamel, the son of a trombonist and a singing teacher, came to El Sistema as a four-year-old, where he first learned the violin. “One day,” he says, “I was at a rehearsal and there was no-one at the conductor’s desk because he was sick. So I thought, okay, and took up the baton.” At the age of 15, Dudamel then became the conductor of what is now the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and, because of his exceptional talent, received lessons from El Sistema founder Abreu. When he won the Bamberg Symphony’s international Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, he gained international attention. What followed was a breathtaking career that took the exceptional musician to the major international orchestras. Since the 2009/10 season, Dudamel, who still leads the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, has been music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he founded the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, modelled on El Sistema. In addition, the artist, who has been a regular guest conductor with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2008, took over the musical direction of the Paris Opera in August 2021.

Gustavo Dudamel (photo: Danny Clinch)

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