Music director designate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic hand-selected by the Glenn Gould Prize Laureate Dr. José Antonio Abreu

Internationally renowned Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra will appear at gala celebration in Toronto honouring Maestros Abreu and Dudamel on October 26

TORONTO – Venezuelan Conductor Gustavo Dudamel was selected by The Eighth Glenn Gould Prize Laureate Dr. José Antonio Abreu as winner of the prestigious The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize, The Glenn Gould Foundation announced today.

Hailed as one of the most exciting and compelling conductors of our time, the 28-year old Maestro Dudamel will begin his tenure as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in fall 2009. Recently named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009, Maestro Dudamel continues as Music Director of the Gothenburg Symphony. Perhaps best known as Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, his infectious energy and exceptional artistry have made him one of the most sought-after conductors by orchestras around the world.

Maestros Abreu and Dudamel will receive their awards at a gala celebration at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on October 26. The gala will kick off an extraordinary week in which the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra – all 250 strong – will make its first Canadian appearances in a series of youth concerts, outreach activities and academic symposia. The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra is one of the world’s most exceptional orchestras. The orchestra is comprised of young musicians between the ages of 16-22 who have developed their talents through El Sistema – the remarkable Venezuelan orchestral program founded by Dr. Abreu. The orchestra has been invited to perform in some of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Royal Festival Hall in London, The Philharmonie in Berlin, Lincoln Centre in Washington, DC and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Maestro Dudamel, a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela will receive a cash award of $15,000 from the City of Toronto as he joins an illustrious group of exceptional young musicians who have received this triennial honour. Previous Protégé winners are Roman Patkoló (2005); Jean-Guihen Queyras (2002); Wu Man (1999); Tan Dun (1996), and Benny Green (1993).

“"Wow, it's such a big honour and particularly that it is happening in the framework of what promises to be such a beautiful residency in Toronto,” said Maestro Dudamel. “Of course, I'm indebted to Maestro Abreu for nominating me and to The Glenn Gould Foundation for making it all happen; but more importantly, this award stands much more for what I represent and that is this wonderful orchestra and the sistema from which we all have come."

Maestro Dudamel added, “Glenn Gould was, of course, a musical genius and, as a pianist and musician, he has profoundly influenced my outlook on many things, including life in general. I can think of no one more deserving than Maestro Abreu to receive this important honour.”

"In the 25 years since its creation, The Glenn Gould Prize has been an international symbol of excellence in music and communications - a symbol of human creativity and at the highest level,” said The Glenn Gould Foundation Executive Director Brian Levine. “With this year's Laureate, Maestro Abreu and Protégé, Maestro Dudamel, The Glenn Gould Foundation is thrilled to honour the accomplishments of these exceptional individuals who have made such a profound contribution to the potential of music and the arts, and who are agents of personal and social transformation.”

“Dr. Abreu's work demonstrates the power of music to change the world we inhabit by uniting people in the common cause of harmony, education and enlightened solutions to age-old problems,” said Glenn Morley, President of The Glenn Gould Foundation. “We cannot think of a man who more perfectly symbolizes our Foundation's mission than our Laureate, José Antonio Abreu, or artists who more aptly express the energy, passion and creativity of the future than our Protégé Prize winner, Gustavo Dudamel and his talented colleagues in the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra; who we'll have the honour and thrill of presenting together in their Canadian debuts."

News of Gustavo Dudamel's talent spread worldwide after his triumph at the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in May 2004. Born in 1981, he studied violin at the Jacinto Lara Conservatory with José Luis Jiménez and later, with José Francisco del Castillo, at the Latin American Academy of Violin. In 1996, he began his conducting studies with Rodolfo Saglimbeni and during the same year was named Music Director of the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. In 1999, along with assuming the Music Director position of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, he began conducting studies with José Antonio Abreu, the Orchestra's founder. In May 2007, Dudamel was awarded the Premio de la Latinidad by the Union Latina, an honor given for outstanding contributions to Latin cultural life, which is presented by the 37 Latin American and African member states of the Union Latina organization. In 2008, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra was granted Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, given annually by the Principle Foundation of Asturias in Spain. Dudamel was awarded the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Young Artists and, most recently, along with his mentor Dr. Abreu, the 2008 "Q Prize" from Harvard University for extraordinary service to children.

About The Glenn Gould Foundation

The Glenn Gould Foundation is a registered charitable organization whose mission is to pay tribute to the legacy of Glenn Gould by celebrating brilliance, unlocking creativity and transforming lives through the power of music and art.  Established in 1983 in Toronto, the Foundation awards the prestigious Glenn Gould Prize and The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize once every three years.  Laureates of the prize are among the most distinguished artists of our time and are charged with selecting the recipient of The City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize, which is awarded to an outstanding young musician with the promise of an exceptional lifetime contribution to the art. The Glenn Gould Foundation (Inc.) was established in 2009 in the United States, with a parallel mission.  For more information about The Glenn Gould Foundation and to support its mission, please visit www.glenngould.ca.

For more information please contact
Brian Levine
Executive Director
(416) 962-6200
media@glenngould.ca