Los Angeles Philharmonic On Tour In London

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Gustavo Dudamel i i

hide captionGustavo Dudamel will conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in London, where tickets have long been sold out for the event.

courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in London, where tickets have long been sold out for the event.

courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic

Intermission Interview

Concert Program

John Adams: Slonimsky's Earbox

Leonard Bernstein: Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah"

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel, conductor, at the Barbican Centre in London

Stand in the lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall — the Los Angeles Philharmonic's home — and poll the folks streaming by you. So many will tell you this is their first time in the hall. Why'd they come? "To see Gustavo."

Is it the hair? The musicians who play their hearts out for him? Or is it watching Leno chatting him up on the Tonight Show? How about the energy he throws off like a Fourth of July sparkler? Whatever. Gustavo Dudamel, the Philharmonic's music director, is still just about the hottest thing in classical music.

He and the Philharmonic are playing two nights this week at London's Barbican Centre in their first European tour together. The hall's been long sold out. So now Brits are trying to snag the odd scalped ticket. Those I've talked to here in London sound just like the Californians: "We want to see Gustavo."

It's the same story in Portugal and Spain, where the Philharmonic packed the halls last week; and in Paris and Vienna, where the halls are already sold out for next week's concerts.

With all that adulation, you would think Dudamel might be in need of an enlarged hat size. But he has a graceful deflection.

"It's lovely that they're coming because of one person," Dudamel says, "but it's really about the joy of the music. This is the most important thing. It's beautiful to share this energy. When you walk onstage and feel the energy of thousands of people. That is very important. But I hope they always come to enjoy the music."

It's a long way for Yanks to cross the pond and witness the Dudamel phenomenon abroad. So our microphones have done the traveling for you. We've got them in the sweet spot of the Barbican for the Thursday (2:00 p.m. EST) concert. The program of music by Adams, Bernstein and Beethoven is the same one Dudamel and the orchestra performed in their broadcast to movie theaters across the U.S. earlier this month.

My KUSC colleague Brian Lauritzen and I will bring it all to you as it happens.

(Gustavo Dudamel is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. For more information, go to www.gustavodudamel.com or www.laphil.com/gustavo.)

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