Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles for the New York Philharmonic : NPR
Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images
A long-awaited game of musical chairs is underway: the charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel leaves Los Angeles to become the new musical and artistic director of the New York Philharmonic.
Dudamel, 42, will officially assume the role of leader of the Philharmonie at the start of the 2026-27 season. Beginning in the 2025-26 season, he will serve as the New York Orchestra’s Designated Music Director and his full contract as Music and Artistic Director will last for five years.
Dudamel has been music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — and, more broadly, one of that city’s most acclaimed high-culture heroes — since 2009. He’s also music director of the Paris Opera, post which he has held since 2021. , and as musical director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, which he has directed since 1999.
In a press release sent to NPR on Tuesday afternoon by the New York Philharmonic, Venezuelan-born Dudamel said, “Today, above all, I am grateful. I am grateful to the musicians and the leadership of the New York Philharmonic as we begin this new and beautiful journey together; to my beloved family at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and YOLA [the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles] for helping me learn and grow through countless challenges and triumphs; and to my Maestro Abreu [the conductor José Antonio Abreu, his early mentor in Caracas] and the musicians from Venezuela who have accompanied me since the beginning. As the great poet Federico García Lorca said: “Every step we take on earth takes us to a new world.”
Although there has been strong speculation that Dudamel could earn that podium in New York, his appointment is already being hailed as something of a coup on the East Coast. His predecessor at the New York Philharmonic, Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, abruptly announced in September 2021 that he would be leaving, citing a pandemic era revisiting his personal priorities.
Outgoing New York Philharmonic Executive Director Deborah Borda has worked closely with Dudamel in the past; before arriving in New York, she held the same role with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for 17 years – and brought Dudamel there. Borda also led the recent massive renovation of David Geffen Hall, the birthplace of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which just reopened last October.
Dudamel’s hiring in New York means the Los Angeles Philharmonic is now officially on the hunt for a new music director.
News of Dudamel’s signing was first reported by the New York Times Tuesday afternoon.