“Not so many people believe in higher beauty these days, but Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, believes in it,” writes Brian Phillips in Thursday’s (11/1) New York Times. “He believes in truth too, and in joy—especially in joy…. Dudamel uses the word ‘magic’ without hesitation when he talks about music…. Hundreds of children from diverse racial and economic backgrounds participate in the Phil’s education program, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which Dudamel helped found. … ‘We are doing something here that is an example of how things can work,’ he says…. A central part of his message is that music is not ideological. It is a way of ‘building bridges,’ he thinks, a language ‘that talks to everybody.’… There are critics, especially in Venezuela, who say his optimism is callow. Dudamel’s home country is suffering from a horrific and ongoing social and economic crisis…. Dudamel … tries to tune [the criticism] out…. The problem is … whether the ideals he cherishes can hold up against the unrest and chaos of history. Those are hard questions. But for now? … All the time, he says, ‘I get more and more and more in love with what I do.’ ”

Posted November 2, 2018