30 years ago, when he was twelve, Gutavo Dudamel stood in front of an orchestra for the first time. Now he is 42 and has already received the highest classical music consecration, is the head of two of the world’s most famous institutions. The Paris Opéra appointed him chief two years ago, and now the New York Philharmonic is following suit. Dudamel is to start there in three years as boss, with an ensemble that has been shaped by Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta and Lorin Maazel, but has not been too happy with its last two bosses. With Dudamel, the orchestra can pretty much pick up where it was in the old days. From the start of his career he was a marvel of passion, charm, sophistication, accuracy and musicality. Dudamel was trained in Venezuela’s music and social project “El Sistema”, appeared early on with the world’s best orchestras, conducted the Philharmonic in Gothenburg and Los Angeles, founded his own youth orchestra, Yola, an aid project for poorer children. In addition, Dudamel repeatedly went to court with Venezuela’s controversial head of state Nicolás Maduro, who is accused of drug trafficking, election fraud and crimes against humanity.