Los Angeles Philharmonic Stalwart Gustavo Dudamel Is Leaving for New York

Dudamel becomes the first Latino conductor of the NY Phil and 27th overall

Gustavo Dudamel attends the Inauguration of The Instituto Cervantes In Los Angeles plaque unveiling with Her Majesty The Queen of Spain at Instituto Cervantes on December 13, 2022
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Yes, Los Angeles, you’ll have to bid Gustavo Dudamel adieu.

Dudamel will serve as music director of the New York Philharmonic for the 2026-27 season, becoming the first Latino to lead the orchestra since its foundation in 1842 and the 27th conductor to preside.

The Venezuelan conductor agreed to a five-year contract as New York’s artistic and music director, which will put an end to his time with the Los Angeles Philharmonic that began in 2009. The announcement was made Tuesday.

“Today, above all, I am grateful. I am grateful to the musicians and leadership of the New York Philharmonic as we embark upon this new and beautiful journey together,” Dudamel said in a statement on the NY Phil’s website. “As the great poet Federico García Lorca said: ‘Every step we take on earth brings us to a new world.’” He added: “I gaze with joy and excitement at the world that lies before me in New York City.”

Dudamel will return to New York in the spring to lead the Orchestra in three performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 from May 19-21. 

He will also remain music director of the Paris Opera, a title he has had since 2021, and of Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, a role he took in 1999. He has conducted 26 concerts as a guest, starting in November 2007.

Dudamel conducted the soundtrack to Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

“What the orchestra told us very, very clearly was that the person that they wanted, their dream candidate, was Gustavo,” New York Philharmonic CEO Deborah Borda said in a statement to The AP. “When you’re trying to recruit the most sought-after conductor in the world, you don’t run a sort of classic search.”

Current conductor Jaap van Zweden announced that he would leave after his 2023-24 stint in Sept. 2021. His six years as music director mark the shortest tenure of anyone in the last half-century.