“Gustavo Dudamel — new music conductor.” Or perhaps, “Gustavo Dudamel — new music proponent.”
The young maestro is not necessarily known for conducting new music as much as others such as David Robertson or Kent Nagano, and he certainly does not have the reputation or gravitas that Esa-Pekka Salonen brings when conducting “new” or “newer” music. Mr. Dudamel’s own PR machine and the press coverage that springs from it are much more likely to discuss his El Sistema roots and continued commitment to youth orchestras than they are to mention premieres he has conducted.
Despite all of this perception and talk, what is the reality? How does Mr. Dudamel actually compare to other conductors, including his predecessor as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic? There are many ways to look at this, and I’ll do my best to hit as many of them as possible over the course of multiple posts.
Based on points brought up during the discussion that resulted from my last post, let’s start with the number of works conductors program with their own orchestra during the upcoming 2011-12 season. For purposes of this discussion, we’ll call anything composed in the past 40 years as “new music.” Here’s what I discovered:
Gustavo Dudamel is conducting more “new music” this coming season — eleven works — with his primary orchestra than any other “Music Director” or “Principal Conductor” of any orchestra in North America, not to mention a couple in Europe too. It stacks up like this:
- Gustavo Dudamel (LA Phil) = 11
- Alan Gilbert (NY Phil) = 10
- Michael Tilson-Thomas (San Francisco) = 10
- David Robertson (St. Louis) = 8 (only 3 other programs without: All Stravinsky, Bach B-minor Mass, Rachmaninoff/Ravel/Prokofiev)
- Kent Nagano (Montreal) = 7 (plus Turangalila)
- Marin Alsop (Baltimore) = 6
- Simon Rattle (Berlin) = 5
- Christoph Eschenbach (National – DC) = 5 (plus Turangalila)
- Esa-Pekka Salonen (Philharmonia) = 3 (plus “The Prisoner” by Dallapiccola)
- Franz Welser-Most (Cleveland) = 3
- Jaap van Zweden (Dallas) = 2
- Manfred Honeck (Pittsburgh) =2 (plus Goosens’ Concerto piece for 2 harps, oboe, and orchestra – 1958)
- Riccardo Muti (Chicago) = 2 (plus “The Leopard” by Nino Rota 1963)
- Charles Dutoit & Yannick Nezet-Seguin (combined) (Philadelphia) = 1
- I’m surprised that MTT & SFS weren’t at the top of the list given that they have a lot of new works commissioned as part of their 100th Anniversary session. If you remove the Green Umbrella concerts from Mr. Dudamel’s tally and the Contact! concerts from Mr. Gilbert, they would be at the top.
- I’m absolutely shocked that Salonen’s numbers with the Philharmonia are so low. He’s taking his own Violin Concerto on the road with a number of orchestras, but much of his effort in London this season is devoted to Bartok.
- Special notice must be paid to David Robertson: more than 75% of his programs with the SLSO include new music, and only one concert is devoid of any music from the 20th or 21st Century.
Photo credit: Martin Chalifour