Gustavo Dudamel: The Natural


MAESTRO: Dudamel has a gift for connecting with both orchestra and audience

It is a rain-battered August day in Edinburgh, and inside the city's Usher Hall the conductor Gustavo Dudamel is having difficulty with the strings. It is the final rehearsal of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10, and Dudamel wants the violins to be more biting and caustic. Any successful performance of Shostakovich's 10th must reflect its historical context: Stalin's purges; some 20 million dead; a composer who lived in constant fear of the knock on the door. "Muchachos," Dudamel says, searching for the right expression. "Pop pop pop!" he says, mimicking the sound of a firing squad.

It's an unlikely...

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