New York Hails Dudamel as a ‘Monstro’ and a Boon to Young Musicians

Eduardo Cordova, a bartender at Venezuelan restaurant Casa Ora in Brooklyn, welcomed the naming of Gustavo Dudamel as the New York Philharmonic’s next musical director and its first Hispanic leader. with many compliments.

“He’s a ‘monster’,” said Mr Cordova, speaking in Spanish and using a slang term that translates as “monster” in English but that means something else in this context.

“An accomplished person, a talented person,” said Cordova, who has lived in New York for six years and was born in Venezuela, like Dudamel.

Susie Jaramillo, a children’s book author and CEO of youth entertainment company Encantos, used the Spanish phrase “orgullo patrimonial,” or national pride, to describe it. her reaction to Mr. Dudamel’s hiring.

Jaramillo, who was born in Caracas, said: “It was incredible to see him put our culture on such a pedestal.

“The other thing about Dudamel,” she added, “is that he is an example of someone who has gone from nothing to everything, and there are so many Venezuelan children coming to this country right now and in need. hope is seen.”

Casa Ora’s owner, Ivo Diaz, expressed similar pride when he heard the news of his fellow Venezuelan’s prominent new position. Venezuela is often portrayed in the media as merely the source of thousands of people who have emigrated to the United States in recent years, Diaz said, and is now at the center of a controversial political debate. argumentative.

“Every time we hear good news, it’s very important,” Mr. Diaz said in Spanish. He added, “It always seems like bad news, bad news. So it means the world will see the good news and see us well represented.

Ismael Guevara was among those who made the arduous journey from Venezuela to the United States and eventually New York. Currently at the men’s shelter of the city’s Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Mr. Guevara is familiar with Mr. Dudamel and is pleased to learn about the next phase of his career.

“He’s really, really good, he’s prepared very well,” Guevara said in Spanish, adding that “for me, that’s great, and it’s a source of pride. “

Ali Bello, a Venezuelan-born violinist who has lived long in New York and trained in the country’s El Sistema music education program, which also spawned Mr. they certainly helped his countrymen reach such heights.

“This is not luck,” Mr. Bello said. In addition to providing rigorous training in music, he notes, the El Sistema program emphasizes the importance of playing in groups and working with others in ways that extend beyond the orchestra’s stage.

From a young age we learned that “we are only as good as we are as a group,” said Mr. Bello, which combined very well with Mr. Dudamel’s outstanding musical ability, winning personality and powerful charisma to fuel his success.

Members of the Venezuelan community in New York weren’t the only ones excited by the announcement that Mr. Dudamel would soon take the helm of the Philharmonic.

The city is home to a number of youth music organizations rooted in the principles of social action through music that El Sistema promotes. Leaders of those groups said they believed Mr. Dudamel’s presence would be felt far beyond the orchestra’s Lincoln Center headquarters.

“I think there have been many opportunities to be lost,” said Alvaro Rodas, an Ecuador-born percussionist and founder and director of one such group, the Corona Youth Music Project in Queens. miss to have a profound impact on music education across the city. Based on Mr. Dudamel’s track record in Los Angeles, Mr. Rodas said, that looks likely to change.

Anne Fitzgibbon, founder and executive director of the Harmony Program, another organization inspired by El Sistema and providing after-school music education in schools with limited access working with it, said Mr. Dudamel’s move from Los Angeles would have a “seismic impact” on children like the ones her team works with.

“He has a real commitment to promoting excellence and accessibility to music education,” said Ms. Fitzgibbon.

Luigi Auquilla, who studied violin through the Harmony Program and is now a senior in political science at New York University, said he “couldn’t be happier” about Mr. enjoy.

Mr. Auquilla, who had the opportunity to play under Mr. Dudamel’s direction at a festival in Mexico City in 2018, said he was impressed by the way the conductor treats young musicians: “just like he did. he treats any other orchestra player.”

How does he expect Mr. Dudamel to use his new position to promote music education in New York?

“Spread the love,” Auquilla said.

Brittany Kriegstein contribution report.


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