Gustavo Dudamel

During the intermission the guy next to us was explaining the art of conducting to his wife. The right hand, with the baton, sets the beat, said he; the left provides the expression.

“After you see a few conductors you’ll understand what I mean.”

She didn’t look like she got it, but then of course neither did her tendentious husband.

This conductor is like no other conductor. He often uses no hands at all, moving just one eyebrow, or one hip, or one elbow. Sometimes he jumps up and down; sometimes he’s perfectly still. He gasps, he smiles, frowns, he closes his eyes.

Sometimes he looks as if he’s in a trance, and when he comes out again it feels like we’ve been spying on him. He seemed almost done in by Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathétique. So were we.

Our view of him was from the front, because our seats are behind the orchestra. After the fourth curtain call, he turned the whole orchestra around to acknowledge us. We were honored to share his stage.

Here you can see his passion, his musicality, his command, even in rehearsal. He’s described in the video as a conductor who wants to create an event, not just a performance. Last night was an event.

He’s only 29. I’ve never seen anything like him.

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