Gustavo Dudamel will leave the LA Philharmonic for the NY Philharmonic

Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES — Gustavo Dudamel, the legendary conductor and music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has announced that he will leave the L.A. Phil for the New York Philharmonic at the conclusion of his contract in 2026.

The unexpected news comes shortly after the Venezuelan-born conductor celebrated his 42nd birthday in Paris, where he currently serves as musical director of the Paris Opera.

In a phone call, Dudamel told The Times’ classical music critic, Mark Swed, that the decision was extremely complex and difficult, and that his heart remains here in Los Angeles. He said that he’s not leaving tomorrow, and with three seasons remaining at the L.A. Phil, his focus will remain here.

In 2026 Dudamel will have been the L.A. Phil’s music director for 17 years, having first been appointed in 2009.

Dudamel told Swed that he’ll turn 45 in 2026 and that he believes it will be a moment for a new challenge.

“The philharmonic is a very different animal, a different situation and the challenge is very interesting,” Dudamel said, adding that although the move will make his life easier in terms of his proximity to Paris and his second home in Madrid, that’s not why he is seeking this change.

Dudmel told Swed it was his intention to break the news to the orchestra Tuesday during an early afternoon meeting — that he wanted to tell them personally because they are his family.


He added that his relationship with the L.A. Phil will continue, and that he plans to return regularly.

Deborah Borda, the current president and CEO of the N.Y. Philharmonic, assumed that role after serving for 17 years at the L.A. Phil—including the beginning of Dudamel’s relationship with the organization.

“My time with the LA Phil has been, and will continue to be, the most transformative period of my life. I have learned so much, grown so much, and together we have created something truly unique and beautiful — not only with this incredible orchestra, but in the community that we have built around ourselves, from Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, to The Ford, and beyond,” Dudamel said in a statement.

“We have groundbreaking projects planned for the seasons ahead, including the inaugural California Festival this Fall, and more that will be announced soon. I will always remain involved in YOLA, even as new people bring new vision and inspiration, and with our new Beckmen YOLA Center, we have ensured that the future generations will keep expanding that community far beyond our wildest dreams. Change always comes with a sense of loss, but I feel that we have only to gain in the years ahead, and it is my hope and my wish that I can continue to play a part in this amazing institution.”


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