Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Los Angeles Philharmonic's Gustavo Dudamel rehearses with choral groups and soloists at the Hollywood Bowl before a 2009 performance, a tribute to the music director's first season with the L.A. Phil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Expo Center Youth Orchestra members follow Gustavo Dudamel during a rehearsal break at the Hollywood Bowl in October 2009. The orchestra prepared all summer for its Bowl performance in which the youths were to be led by Dudamel as part of "Bienvenido Gustavo!," his first appearance as the L.A. Phil's music director.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic as music director for the first time at Walt Disney Concert Hall in the 2009 opening-night program.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel rehearses with soloist tenor Toby Spence in 2009 before the Hollywood Bowl performance of "Bienvenido Gustavo!," his first as music director of with the L.A. Phil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

All eyes -- and cameras -- are on Gustavo Dudamel during a 2009 press conference at Walt Disney Concert Hall on his first day of rehearsal as music director of the L.A. Phil.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel holds his first rehearsal as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall in 2009.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel discusses hairstyles with Isaac Green, 13, a member of the Expo Center Youth Orchestra, during a rehearsal break. The orchestra performed with Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel poses for pictures with members of the Expo Center Youth Orchestra during a rehearsal break. The orchestra performed with Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Family members watch their children during an Expo Center Youth Orchestra rehearsal with Gustavo Dudamel before a 2009 Hollywood Bowl performance.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel lets off some steam backstage at Disney Hall in 2008 at the conclusion of his two-week residence with the L.A. Phil. He took the helm of the orchestra in 2009.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

A young fan from the L.A. Musart Youth Orchestra captures a moment with Gustavo Dudamel after the orchestra's performance for him in 2009 at the Los Angeles Latino Welcoming Party at the Hollywood Bowl.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel leads the L.A. Phil, accompanied by the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, in a staged production of Antonio Estevez's "Cantata Criolla" at Disney Hall in 2010. Dudamel has said that from the day he signed on with the L.A. Phil, his priority was to perform his countryman's work during his first season here.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel shows his appreciation for the group Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez after its performance for him at the 2009 Los Angeles Latino Welcoming Party at the Hollywood Bowl.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Pianist Lang Lang, left, and Gustavo Dudamel congratulate each other after their performance in the 2011 season-opening concert with the L.A. Phil at the Hollywood Bowl.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel with American Ballet Theatre members Veronika Part and Roberto Bolle in the L.A. Phil's 2012 season opener at Disney Hall. The program included selections from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," danced by Bolle and Part.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel and Herbie Hancock receive a standing ovation in 2011 after an all-Gershwin program.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Bizet's "Carmen" -- Natascha Petrinsky performs the title role -- with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Children's Chorus at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel shows his appreciation for violinist Gil Shaham at the end of Shaham's encore in 2011. The L.A. Phil performed an all-Mozart program including the composer's last symphony (the "Jupiter").

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel leads the combined L.A. Phil and Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Eighth Symphony in 2012, with more than a dozen choruses and eight vocal soloists at the Shrine Auditorium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Phil perform with Dominican singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra, far right, at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012. The program, "Americas & Americans," featured composers and performers from the Americas.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the L.A. Phil and violinist Leila Josefowicz during the West Coast premiere of Steven Mackey's "Beautiful Passing" at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2011.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Tchaikovsky's three Shakespeare concert pieces, "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Tempest," in 2011.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Gustavo Dudamel and his wife, Eloisa Maturen, (front row) pose with members and staff of the L.A. Phil before Dudamel's first rehearsal with the orchestra in 2009. David C. Bohnett, chairman of the Phil, and President Deborah Borda, are shown in the front row, from left.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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Not many people who aren’t musicians can say they’ve been within a few feet of Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music director Gustavo Dudamel while he’s conducting a symphony.

Over the last four years, Los Angeles Times staff photographer Lawrence K. Ho has captured Dudamel at about 45 concerts in Los Angeles, close enough that the young Venezuelan conductor could hear Ho’s camera’s shutter, if not for the blimp photographers use to mask the sound.

A general assignment photographer at The Times for more than 25 years, Ho has extensive experience shooting the arts and especially classical music and dance performances.

The photo gallery above features 23 of Ho’s images taken during Dudamel’s L.A. tenure on the podium — from Dudamel’s Walt Disney Concert Hall debut through his massive, traveling Mahler Project and his work with youth orchestras.

Ho talked to Times editors about how he captures the dynamic conductor for the pages and website of The Times.

What was you first impression of Dudamel?

The first time I photographed him was in January of 2007 at his first concert at Disney Hall. He blew me away because here’s this young kid — I have a kid just about to turn 20 — and he looks like he’s not much older. Esa-Pekka Salonen was the music director at the time, and he has more control on the podium. All of a sudden [Dudamel] comes in, and it’s like, wow, what is he doing? He was really feeling the music and really expressing it.
What else makes shooting Dudamel different?

One thing about Dudamel, he conducts with his whole body. Sometimes he’ll strike a subtle pose with his shoulder or sometimes his elbow might come up a little bit or he’ll be doing a little dance with just his feet.

And sometimes he jumps in the air, or he’ll bend backward so far you think he’ll fall off the podium. Those are things I rarely see in any conductor. I don’t think there’s been a conductor as agile as he is.

With Dudamel being so expressive, how are you able to get the best shot?

On a typical night of coverage, [I'll take] a few hundred photos of him and on a good night we get half a dozen very keepable pictures. The best insurance with [Dudamel] is just to keep your eye on him and anticipate when he’s going to come to a very expressive moment. You have to pay really close attention and make sure you catch the moment when it happens.

Have you seen Dudamel’s style or energy change over the years?

He’s still as enthusiastic and the embodiment of the music that he’s [conducting]. He’s very expressive, and traditionally, I don’t think musicians like their conductor to be too animated but [with Dudamel] they really feel his expression and his charisma becomes infectious. More times than not I hear [musicians] coming of the staging saying, “Wow, that was fun.”

How would you describe your relationship with Dudamel?

To be honest with you, I have never spoken to him. It’s about me being a fly on the wall while photographing him.

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