Watch Gustavo Dudamel share his thoughts on becoming the NY Phil's next Music and Artistic Director during a recent visit to David Geffen Hall
On February 7, the New York Philharmonic announced that Gustavo Dudamel will become the Orchestra’s Music and Artistic Director. In the 2026–27 season Dudamel will begin a five-year term, becoming the 27th conductor to preside over the NY Phil, building on a legacy that includes giants such as Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini, and Leonard Bernstein. In addition, Dudamel will serve as Music Director Designate in the 2025–26 season. Dudamel traveled to New York City on February 20 to meet the Orchestra, Board, staff, and media, and to share his thoughts on his historic appointment.
A native of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel currently serves as Music and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — a position he has held since 2009 — as well as Music Director of the Opéra National de Paris and Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.
About this exciting new chapter, Dudamel remarked: “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. 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.”
He is no stranger to the New York Philharmonic, having conducted 26 concerts as a guest beginning with his November 2007 debut, in which he led the Orchestra in works by Dvořák and Prokofiev, as well as in the NY Phil’s first performances of Chávez’s Sinfonia India since 1961 — led by Bernstein.
As a fresh-faced, 26-year-old wunderkind — just a year older than Bernstein was when he made his NY Phil debut — Dudamel’s maiden voyage at the NY Phil was feverishly anticipated. He rose to the occasion, with The New York Times observing, “he withstood the pressure and delivered teeming, impassioned, and supremely confident performances. … Clearly, the Philharmonic players were inspired by the boundless joy and intensity of his music-making.” Not only that — what also impressed about Dudamel was his thoroughness and preparedness, with The Times noting that his “kinetic, balletic conducting style differs little between concert and rehearsal.”
Subsequent Philharmonic highlights include his 2009 appearance, conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, as well as The Schumann Connection in March 2022, which featured World Premieres of Gabriela Ortiz’s Clara and Andreia Pinto Correia’s Os pássaros da noite, works by composers he selected for NY Phil commissions to complement Robert Schumann’s symphonic cycle.
Gustavo Dudamel will return to New York City this spring to conduct the Orchestra in three performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, May 19–21. These concerts will also mark his first time conducting in the newly reimagined David Geffen Hall’s Wu Tsai Theater, the venue he will, in just a few short years, call home.
Looking ahead to this exciting new era in the Orchestra’s history, Philharmonic leadership can scarcely contain their enthusiasm. NY Phil’s Linda and Mitch Hart President & CEO Deborah Borda said: “This is a dream come true for our musicians, our audience, and certainly for me. The coming together of a great orchestra, a visionary Music and Artistic Director, and our transformed hall promises the richest of futures.” Gary Ginstling, the NY Phil’s Executive Director, who will succeed Borda as President & CEO, agreed: “With Gustavo Dudamel, the Philharmonic is poised for what I believe will be one of the most exciting chapters in its storied history.”
As for the musicians, well, just take it from Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin, who said: “Each time he takes the podium we feel an extraordinary connection with him. This moment aligns with the unparalleled artistic tradition of this nation’s oldest orchestra. We look forward to sharing our deepening musical relationship with audiences both in our revitalized David Geffen Hall and on tour around the world.”
Dudamel, himself, summed it up thusly: “All of us are united in our belief that culture creates a better world, and in our dream that music is a fundamental right. I look forward to the work ahead.”
No doubt, that sentiment is echoed by music lovers throughout New York City and beyond. Here’s to the next chapter of the New York Philharmonic’s story, one that’s sure to be filled with brilliant music — from beloved classics to exciting new works — bravura performances, and plenty of standing ovations.
Gustavo Dudamel made his NY Phil debut on November 29, 2007, leading works by Dvořák, Prokofiev, and Chávez. The NY Phil Archives presented him with former Music Director Leonard Berstein’s baton for the occasion, and during the energetic finale of the Prokofiev the baton split in two. Following the concert, Dudamel turned to apologize, but NY Phil Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws reassured him, saying: “Now the baton has more history.” (Photo by Chris Lee)
Gustavo Dudamel conducted the New York Philharmonic only months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 15, 2020, Dudamel led the first of two weeks of programs, which included the New York Premiere of Piano Concerto, Universos infinitos, by Esteban Benzecry (second from left), with Sergio Tiempo (third from right) as soloist. Following the concert the artists were joined by NY Phil Co-Chairmen Peter W. May (far left) and Oscar L. Tang (far right), and Linda and Mitch Hart President & CEO Deborah Borda. (Photo by Chris Lee)
Gustavo Dudamel returned to the NY Phil in March 2022 to preside over The Schumann Connection — a two-week exploration of Robert Schumann’s symphonic cycle complemented by World Premieres of two works by composers he selected: Gabriela Ortiz and Andreia Pinto Correia. (Photo by Chris Lee)