Gustavo Dudamel

2010 Recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT

About the Award

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT recognizes rising, innovative talents and offers the recipient a $100,000 prize and a campus residency. Established in 1974 by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Award is bestowed upon individuals whose artistic trajectory and body of work indicate that they will achieve the highest distinction as leaders in their fields. One of the most generous arts honors in the US, the Award reflects MIT’s commitment to risk-taking, problem solving and to the idea of connecting creative minds across disciplines. The McDermott Award is considered an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement.

The Residency

A distinctive feature of the Award is a campus residency, which includes a celebratory event at which the Award is presented, a public presentation of the artist’s work and significant interactions with students, faculty and staff. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research found in the MIT community and to have the recipient connect with departments, laboratories and research centers throughout the Institute in ways that will be mutually enlightening.

During Dudamel’s 2010 residency at the Institute, members of the MIT community admired his teaching abilities at an open rehearsal with the MIT Symphony Orchestra and learned about El Sistema‘s philosophy of classical music education at a Panel Discussion.

The Selection Process

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT may be given to an artist working in any field or cross-disciplinary activity, including architecture, creative writing, dance, design, filmmaking, media arts, music, theater and visual arts. Award nominees are identified by an Advisory Committee, which is composed of international leaders in arts and culture. An Award Committee, chosen by the Council for the Arts at MIT and comprised of arts leaders at MIT, then selects the recipient.

Eugene McDermott

The Award honors Eugene McDermott (1899-1973), cofounder of Texas Instruments and long-time friend and benefactor of MIT. The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT was created by the Council for the Arts at MIT in 1974 and further endowed by Eugene’s wife, Margaret.

A geophysicist, Eugene McDermott was a member of the MIT Corporation from 1960 to 1973.  The scholarship funds he established at MIT reflect his commitment to education and the public art he donated a conviction, shared with his wife Margaret, that the physical environment of a campus has great influence upon the character of an institution.  They commissioned Eugene’s Stevens Tech classmate Alexander Calder to create The Great Sail, which was dedicated in 1966 on McDermott Court, facing the Green building.  In 1976, the McDermott family and other friends of MIT made a gift of Three Piece Reclining Figure, Draped, by Henry Moore, which graces Killian Court.

Public Events

Past Events

Open Rehearsal with the MIT Symphony Orchestra
Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, Prague and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol 
Friday, April 16, 2010 / 7:30pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Panel Discussion
Gustavo Dudamel, John Harbison and Tod Machover, moderated by PBS Journalist Maria Hinojosa
Saturday, April 17, 2010 / 2:00pm
MIT Kresge Auditorium
48 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Discussion on music as a social and educational project, highlighting El Sistema and Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles


Acclaimed worldwide as one of the most exciting and compelling conductors of our time, Gustavo Dudamel began his tenure as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in fall 2009, while continuing as Music Director of the Gothenburg Symphony. Dudamel also served 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 and opera companies around the world.

Following guest appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel’s inaugural 2009-10 season as Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director began on October 3 with ¡Bienvenido Gustavo! This free, day-long musical celebration at the Hollywood Bowl for the Los Angeles community culminated with Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. On October 8, 2009, Dudamel led the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the inaugural gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall, featuring the world premiere of John Adams’s City Noir and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. This concert was telecast on PBS’s Great Performances throughout the U.S. on October 21, with subsequent airings throughout the world, and Deutsche Grammophon is issuing the DVD. Further highlights of the L.A. Phil season include Dudamel directing the Americas and Americans festival, a series of five concerts celebrating the music and shared cultural traditions of North, Central and Latin America, as well as conducting concerts with repertoire ranging from Verdi’s Requiem to highlighting works by composers such as Chin, Salonen and Harrison. In May 2010, Dudamel led the L.A. Phil on a coast-to-coast U.S. tour with performances in San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey. With Gothenburg Symphony, highlights included numerous performances in Sweden as well as tours to Hamburg, Bonn, Amsterdam, Brussels, and the Canary Islands. Gustavo Dudamel continued to lead the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra that season for multiple periods in Caracas, Venezuela, and on European and Scandinavian/Russian tours.

El Sistema: Social Support and Advocacy Through Musical Education
Gustavo Dudamel has been an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005. His debut recording, Beethoven Nos. 5&7 with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, was released worldwide in September 2006, and received the 2007 Echo Award (Germany) for “New Artist of the Year.” His second recording with the SBYO, Mahler No. 5, was released in May 2007, and was chosen as the only classical album on iTunes’ “Next Big Thing.” Released in May 2008, Dudamel’s third album with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra was FIESTA, featuring Latin-American works. In March 2009, Deutsche Grammophon released Dudamel’s most recent recording with the SBYO, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Francesca da Rimini. His DVDs include the 2008 release of The Promise of Music, a documentary and concert with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra; Birthday Concert for Pope Benedict XVI released in 2007; and the April 2009 DVD, Live from Salzburg, featuring performances of Mussorgsky/Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Martha Argerich, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, and the SBYO. On the iTunes front, Deutsche Grammophon has released Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Bartók Concerto for Orchestra.

Brought to international attention by triumphing in the inaugural Bamberger Symphoniker Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in May 2004, Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where 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 that 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 Latindad, an honor given for outstanding contributions to Latin cultural life. In 2008, the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra was granted Spain’s prestigious annual Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, and in 2007, Dudamel received the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Young Artists. Along with his mentor Dr. Abreu, he was granted the 2008 “Q Prize” from Harvard University for extraordinary service to children. In June 2009 he received an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Centro-Occidental Lisandro Alvarado in his hometown of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Gustavo Dudamel was named one of the 100 most influential people of 2009 by TIME magazine and has been featured twice on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

Gustavo Dudamel’s Press Contact
Antoine Vigne or Ozgur Gungor
Blue Medium
T: (212) 675-1800 E:


Press Releases

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel named 2010 recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT
(Access the October 29, 2009 MIT News Office Press Release)


Images and Press Inquiries
Leah Talatinian
Communications Manager, Arts at MIT

More information about the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT:
Leila W. Kinney
Executive Director, Arts Initiatives at MIT

Boston Globe: Conducting a movement

MIT News: Gustavo Dudamel makes whirlwind visit to MIT

MIT ARTalk Admissions Blog: Gustavo Dudamel Conducts MITSO!

Slice of MIT: Dudamel Conducts Interview on El Systema–the Video

The Tech: Rock star of the classical world visits MIT