This is the first Grammy for the young Venezuelan musician, who began conducting the LA Phil in 2009 after receiving internationally recognition for his work as conductor of the Simón Bolívar Symphonic Orchestra since 1999. He also conducts Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
Brahms’ Fourth Symphony was composed in 1885 and first performed by the LA Phil in 1923. The orchestra’s web site describes it as “a monumental work” that gathers the power of the traditional methods that the German composer had used in previous works.
This is not the first time Dudamel has been linked to the Grammy Awards. Last November, he opened the 12th Latin Grammy Awards, conducting the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela alongside members of the famous Puerto Rican band Calle 13, René Pérez and his sister Ileana Cabra. The artists played the Calle 13 song “Latinoamérica,” a piece that has become an anthem of Latin American liberation.
All this week, until February 18, Dudamel will perform a series of the “Mahler Project” in Caracas. The project brings together the Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the LA Phil to perform all nine symphonies by Gustav Mahler in honor of the hundred-year anniversary of his death.
Dudamel was himself among the nearly half a million children who have been given free music lessons under Venezuela’s System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras, known as “El Sistema.” El Sistema is a program aimed at promoting music education and collective music-making for children of low-income communities.
El Sistema has received crucial support from the government of President Hugo Chávez. In November 2011, the Venezuelan government announced that $38 million would be allocated to the program.
AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / February 13, 2012