Internationally renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel currently serves as music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and as music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is motivated by a profound belief in music’s power to unite and inspire, and the impact of his leadership extends from the greatest concert stages to classrooms, cinemas, and innovative digital platforms around the world. Mr. Dudamel has appeared as a guest conductor with some of the world’s most famous institutions: In 2017–2018, he tours Europe with the Berliner Philharmoniker, and tours with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to venues that include Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, Bogotá’s Teatro Mayor, Teatro Municipal in Santiago, and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In addition, he conducts a new production of Puccini’s La bohème at the Opéra National de Paris.
Mr. Dudamel is currently in his ninth season as music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. At his initiative, the orchestra has dramatically expanded the scope of its community outreach programs, including the creation of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by the philosophy of Venezuela’s admired El Sistema, which encourages social development through music. With YOLA and diverse local educational initiatives, Mr. Dudamel brings music to children in underserved communities of Los Angeles.
Mr. Dudamel’s commitment to young people and music is fueled by his own transformative experience in Venezuela’s El Sistema, a program initiated by José Antonio Abreu in 1975. In addition to his ongoing commitment to the children, teachers, and orchestras of El Sistema in Venezuela, Mr. Dudamel devotes much of his time to education and programs that promote social change through art. He has appeared at the United Nations and the White House to raise awareness of the role of music education in social development. Further afield, he has worked on numerous occasions with El Sistema Japan and with the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra in the wake of the 2011 tsunami. He actively supports projects such as Big Noise in Scotland, Vienna’s Superar program, SerHacer in Boston, and El Sistema Sweden, with which he initiated an international Orchestra of the Future comprising young people from five continents who performed together on the occasion of the 2017 Nobel Prize Concert.
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For the past 176 years, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been inseparably linked with European musical tradition, from the Classical to the contemporary. The philharmonic’s performances have gone down in music history, and several masterpieces have been written for the ensemble.
Since its inception by Otto Nicolai in 1842, the fascination that the orchestra has held for prominent composers and conductors—as well as for audiences all over the world—is based not only on a homogenous musical style, carefully bequeathed from one generation to the next, but also on its unique history and structure. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the orchestra itself.
In accordance with philharmonic statutes, only a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Before joining the philharmonic, the musicians must first audition for a position with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and then successfully complete a three-year period before becoming eligible to submit an application for membership in the association of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs approximately 40 concerts annually in Vienna, presents Vienna Philharmonic weeks in New York and Japan, and has appeared at the Salzburg Festival since 1922. The orchestra makes yearly guest appearances, playing more than 50 concerts in leading concert halls and festivals around the world; presents the New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast internationally in more than 90 countries; and presents the free Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn, attended annually by up to 100,000 people.
From the beginning, the orchestra has displayed a strong social consciousness, characterized by a commitment to individuals in need and the fostering of young musicians. To this day, the orchestra annually performs numerous benefit concerts and develops initiatives for the disadvantaged. The musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra endeavor to implement the motto with which Ludwig van Beethoven prefaced his Missa solemnis: “From the heart, to the heart.”
Rolex has been the exclusive sponsor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008.