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LA Phil's Gustavo Dudamel Is Leaving For New York City — In 2026

A man with curly hair is in a black tux and using a conductors baton.
Gustavo Dudamel conducts during the American Film Institute's 2016 Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute show to John Williams at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
(Mark Davis
Getty Images)
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Gustavo Dudamel, whose leadership of the Los Angeles Philharmonic transformed the orchestra from a distinguished American symphony into a global powerhouse, will leave the orchestra to head the New York Philharmonic.

The Details

Dudamel will switch coasts at the end of the 2025-26 season, when his Los Angeles contract expires, the music director and conductor said Tuesday.

In joining the New York Philharmonic, Dudamel will be reunited with its president, Deborah Borda, who hired him to lead the Los Angeles Phil in 2007 to succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen. The Venezuelan-born conductor was just 27 at the time. His hiring prompted Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed to proclaim, "Greatness like this doesn't come around often."

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The L.A. Phil said it will search for its next music director "with this same spirit as we define the future of our organization."

What Dudamel Is Saying

“My time with the LA Phil has been, and will continue to be, the most transformative period of my life,” Dudamel said in a statement.

“I have learned so much, grown so much, and together we have created something truly unique and beautiful — not only with this incredible orchestra, but in the community that we have built around ourselves.”

Why It Matters

With a mane of curls and a punchy baton, Dudamel not only injected the Los Angeles Phil with youthful vigor but expanded the orchestra’s reach into the community and around the world. A product of Venezuela’s well-known musical education curriculum El Sistema, Dudamel played a key role in similar programs in Southern California, especially the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.

During his tenure, the Los Angeles Phil traveled around the globe, often showcasing the work of one of Dudamel’s favorite composers, Gustav Mahler. Dudamel also conducted Leonard Bernstein’s score for Steven Spielberg’s recent remake of the musical West Side Story. 

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