Twenty-five-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel has been appointed principal conductor of Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2007-08 season.
Dudamel first worked with the orchestra when he replaced Neeme Järvi at short notice for concerts at the BBC Proms and in Birmingham. Dudamel said, "Already when I first conducted the Gothenburg Symphony, in Birmingham and at the BBC Proms last year, I was very impressed by their skill and openness. It was wonderful—I simply fell in love with the orchestra!”
Dudamel began playing the violin at four, then joined the renowned Simón Bolívar National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, which has worked with conductors including Claudio Abbado and Simon Rattle. In 1999, Dudamel was appointed music director of the orchestra, a position he will continue to hold.
Last year, Dudamel and the orchestra signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. They recorded Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 in March for release in September.
Dudamel performed Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with the GSO yesterday. His appointment was announced to the orchestra during a morning’s dress rehearsal.
Dudamel succeeds Mario Venzago, who has been principal conductor of the GSO since 2004.
Edward Smith, the orchestra's artistic and managing director, said, “To be able to forge a close association between Gustavo and the GSO is an extraordinary privilege for us all. He is, in every way, a remarkable musician with the very special talent to communicate both to the performers in front of him and to the audience behind him. His enthusiasm to develop his career here with the National Orchestra of Sweden is something we look forward to sharing with huge anticipation.”