NPR logo Dudamel Beware: 3-Year-Old Conducts Beethoven's 5th

Dudamel Beware: 3-Year-Old Conducts Beethoven's 5th


How young do we want our symphony conductors?

Last week the Indianapolis Symphony named 28-year old Krzysztof Urbanski as the orchestra's new music director, the youngest in the organization's history.

Then there's Ilyich Rivas. He made his Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducting debut two days ago in a program of Mahler, Shostakovich and Brahms. He's 17 years old.

But to top them all, the "conductor" in the video above — who apparently (and fashionably) goes by a single name, Jonathan — is 3.

I asked Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conductor Marin Alsop to take a critical look.

"They're getting younger and younger all the time," Alsop says. "Pretty soon even potty training will not be required for Music Director candidates."

And what about his stick technique?

"I may steal a few gestures," Alsop says. "I especially like his cute pianissimo section!"

Here's how the same music looks, led by a professional — Kristian Alexander conducts the Kindred Spirits Orchestra of Markham, Ontario. Note the similarity of gestures.