Now moving on to NYC, Gustavo Dudamel is the most famous and influential, but he’s not the only one making waves in professional orchestras around the world
By Caracas Chronicles – Pedro Graterol
Mar 25, 2023
On February 23rd, the New York Philharmonic announced that Gustavo Dudamel would be taking over the role of Music Director starting on the 2026-2027 season. The news marked an important shift in the world of classical music. Dudamel has been at the helm of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 2009 and has been famous for his role in modernizing the LA classical music scene and creating successful El Sistema-inspired initiatives like the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).
While it’s still a couple of years away, it is very exciting to know that a Venezuelan will be holding the same position as some of the legends of classical music history like Leonard Bernstein, Arturo Toscanini, Leopoldo Stokowski, and even Gustav Mahler. However, Dudamel is not alone. There’s a wide array of Venezuelan conductors making a difference in the classical music scene all over the world and the number keeps on growing.
Here’s a list of some of them to keep in our radar, among a wider group of artists all over the world and in all spheres of classical music, composing, performing, educating, revitalizing the world of classical music and making us proud:
Principal Conductor Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, Japan
While he currently is the Principal Conductor at the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, Matheuz has held prestigious positions such as Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra Mozart Bologna and Principal Guest Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the Barquisimeto native was the Principal Conductor of La Fenice Opera House in Venice, one of the most iconic venues in all of Italian theater. In fact, he also has a prolific career as an operatic conductor. Matheuz has worked with Deutsche Oper und Staatsoper Berlin and the Liceu in Barcelona, as well as the Teatro São Carlos, Lisbon.
Here’s a recording of Matheuz conducting Mahler Symphony #1 with the La Fenice Opera House orchestra
Music Director Conductor at Miami Symphony Orchestra, USA
Marturet has been the Music Director and the Conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra since 2006. During his time there he has developed a particular emphasis on classical crossover music (music that combines classical and pop elements). In 2021, his composition Planet 9, which was written to be performed in space, was performed in a private live feed ceremony in collaboration with the Japan Exploration Agency.
Here is Marturet conducting his piece Planet 9 with the Miami Symphony Orchestra
Artistic Director of the Sinfónica Ayacucho, Venezuela
Vegas has been leading the Sinfónica Ayacucho since 2017, an orchestra founded by one of her teachers, Rodolfo Saglimbeni. There, she has explored a broad variety of repertoire, from electronic music to zarzuelas, as well as classical orchestral music and even partnered with the ska band Desorden Público for the concert Sinfonía Desordenada. She is also well-known for directing stage productions of The Sound of Music, Man of La Mancha and Les Miserables. Vegas also was the conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chacao and the Orquesta Sinfónica Infantil de Chacao. In addition to studying with Saglimbeni, she finished her conduction studies at the Canford School of Music in England.
Here’s Vegas conducting Bernsetin’s overture to “Candide”:
Music Director of l’ Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Canada
Music Director San Diego Symphony, USA
After a successful 5 year tenure leading Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland, Payare, from Puerto La Cruz, became the Music Director of the San Diego Symphony in California in 2019. Since the fall of 2022, he balances that with the role of Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in Canadá, with which he recently released a recording of the beloved Mahler Symphony #5
Watch a clip of Payare conducting Brahms’ Symphony #1 with l’ Orchestre symphonique de Montréal here:
Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, UK
Principal Guest Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony, Poland
Since 2021, Hindoyán has been the Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chief Guest Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2019. Additional appearances include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Hindoyán conducts Mascagani’s Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ave María with soloist Sonya Yoncheva and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic here
Director of Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile
Saglimbeni has had a long career that includes being the Artistic Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas and the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia. Now, since 2019, he has been leading the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile and receiving great reviews.
Saglimbeni conducts Grieg’s Piano Concerto with soloist Armands Abols and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile here:
Associate conductor Singapore Symphony
Upon the conclusion of his conducting studies at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, winning the 2018 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México International Conducting Competition, and taking second place in the Inaugural Siemens-Hallé International Conductor Competition, Barraez made his debut last year as Associate Conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He is also a current Dudamel Fellow, a program Gustavo Dudamel started to support and educate young promising conductors in the LAPhill.
Watch Barraez conducting Mozart’s overture to “The Marriage of Fígaro” with the Singapore Symphony here:
Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, USA
The Caracas-born cellist and conductor has been leading the Alabama Symphony Orchestra since 2015. In addition, he is the Music Director of the American Youth Symphony, a prestigious fellowship program that trains highly skilled young musicians in Los Angeles California. In addition, Izcaray also has an emerging career as a composer. His works include Strike Fugaz, commissioned in collaboration with Human Rights Watch, a cello concerto, and Geometric Unity for Orchestra.
Izcaray conducts his piece Geometric Unity in this clip performed by the American Youth Symphony:
Conductor of the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra, South Korea
Vásquez led the prestigious Norway’s Stavanger Symphony from 2013 to 2019. His career also includes the role of assistant director of Het Gelders Orkest in the Netherlands from 2015 to 2019. He also has conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic. Recently, he returned to Venezuela, where he is heavily involved in El Sistema, but continues to conduct internationally. Last November, he conducted the Tongyeong Festival Orchestra and has upcoming concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Medellin.
Watch Christian conduct excerpts of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the Turku Philharmonic here:
Studying orchestral conduction at the Paris Conservatory, France
Born in San Felipe, Yaracuy in 1996, Glass is a rising star in the world of conducting and the Orchestra award winner from the 2020 La Maestra Competition in Paris. At her young age, she already has conducted major orchestras like Orquestra Gulbenkian, Filarmónica de Bogotá, Orquesta Sinfónica de Cartagena, Paris Mozart Orchestra, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Tours, Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Orchestre Le Balcon. Throughout last year, she led the Chineke! Junior Orchestra, the youth division of the Chineke! Orchestra, the first European professional orchestra made up of ethnically diverse musicians.
Glass conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #4 with the Chineke! Junior Orchestra in this clip:
Assistant Conductor of the Schwob Philharmonic and Opera, USA
At 26 years old, Enluis Montes is the Assistant Conductor of the Schwob Philharmonic and Opera and Assistant Conductor of the Columbus Ballet, in Georgia, USA. He rose to prominence after winning first place and the Orchestra prize at the second International Conducting Competition of the University of Almeria, in Spain. He has worked with the New West Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and conducted the LAPhill as a Dudamel Fellow.
Enluis conducts Revueltas’ Sensemayá with the Schwob Philharmonic in this clip:
After debuting at age 16 in front of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this 29-year-old Schwob Philharmonic and Opera has had a prolific career that includes working as Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a conducting fellowship with the Baltimore Symphony as well as leading the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and a recent highly-praised performance with the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France.
Illych conducts Smetana’s overture to “The Bartered Bride” with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in this clip:
Read More: Caracas Chronicles – An Atlas of Venezuelan Orchestral Conductors