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The Los Angeles Philharmonic's brilliant Venezuelan Music Director has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people - and conducted penguins on Sesame Street. Find out more about him in out gallery...
Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. His father was a trombonist and his mother a voice teacher. He studied music from an early age, becoming involved with El Sistema, the famous Venezuelan musical education programme, and took up the violin at age ten. He continued his education at the Latin American Academy of Violin. Picture: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Dudamel began to study conducting in 1996. That same year, he was given his first position as Music Director of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. In 1999, he was appointed Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the national youth orchestra of Venezuela. He attended a Charles Dutoit master class in Buenos Aires in 2002 and worked as an assistant to Simon Rattle in Berlin and Salzburg in 2003. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
El Sistema was conceived by Venezuelan conductor and composer Jose Antonio Abreu, pictured with Dudamel. Under Dudamel's leadership the Los Angeles Philharmonic has also expanded its diversified outreach through many projects, most notably Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) which brings music to underprivileged children. It also serves as an inspiration for similar efforts throughout the United States, as well as for programs in Sweden and Scotland. Photo: Leo Ramiez/AFP
On 11 November 2007, Dudamel conducted the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra during his first appearance at Carnegie Hall. The performance was part of 'Berlin in Lights', Carnegie Hall’s first major international festival which offered a snapshot of the city of Berlin, through orchestral, chamber, cabaret, world music, and techno concerts. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
In April 2007, Dudamel and the violinist Hilary Hahn marked Pope Benedict XVI's 80th birthday with a concert by the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Vatican. Photo: Alessia Giuliani/AFP/Getty Images
In September 2009, Dudamel was announced as the new Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The orchestra welcomed Dudamel at his inaugural gala celebration at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He has since been named Musical America’s Musician of the Year, one of the highest honours in the classical music industry. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Dudamel appeared on Sesame Street in February 2012. He demonstrated the word 'Stupendous' to Elmo by conducting an all-penguin choir singing Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'. Photo: Jesse Grant
Gustavo Dudamel is married to Eloísa Maturén. In 2012, they together launched The Dudamel Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering music education and social justice around the world. Photo Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
In June 2012, Dudamel conducted the children from the Big Noise Orchestra in Stirling, Scotland. The concert was the opening event of the London 2012 festival. The special outdoor event, set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle, featured a full performance by Dudamel with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Dudamel recently made his film score composing debut, writing the music for 'Libertador', a biopic of the life of Simón Bolívar. Dudamel recorded the soundtrack with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. Starring Edgar Ramirez as the South American revolutionary figure, the movie follows Bolívar's life and military adventures.