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For his third program at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this season, director and conductor Gustavo Dudamel is presenting Messiaen’s Turangalila-symphonie, a ten-movement, 80-minute work about “happiness without ending.”
We sat in on the orchestra’s rehearsal for the opening night performance, then spoke with Dudamel about his second year in L.A.
Congratulations on your second season with the LA Phil. How does it feel to have returned to Walt Disney Concert Hall?
Oh, amazing. I feel home here. When I go to Venezuela that is my natural home. When I come here I feel I am coming to my family. It’s always great because the relationship is growing up really fast. It’s amazing, the connection of ideas. Sometimes I don’t have to say anything because the orchestra understands what I would like, even without movement. It’s a special connection we have. And I’m very happy to do these programs. The gala with Juan Diego [Florez] was amazing and then we had the very romantic one with Schumann and Beethoven, and now we are doing this amazing piece. The last time it was done was fourteen years ago, and it is the first time that this symphony will be here in the Disney Hall. I am very proud of that.
You were very successful around the world at a very early age. How have you grown and what have you learned in your time with the LA Phil?
A lot! I think there are a lot of things everyday. You know, success gives you a lot of responsibility. You have to improve all the time, and it is beautiful because you think, OK, I did really, really, really well—but then you go back and you study and you see things that you never saw before. You think, I did not know this! And that is very beautiful. It’s like going back to a piece you have been conducting for a long time and saying my God, it is completely new. This is the beauty of music and the art and also our relationships. It’s about human relationships, not only musical relationships. You have to have a good energy and a good atmosphere to create a good harmony for the audience.
And you have that with the LA Phil?