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Dudamel hubbub is appropriate

October 04, 2009

A few thoughts on Mark Swed's inevitable, patriarchal "expose" of the kid, Gustavo Dudamel ["Star Power," Sept. 27] before Dudamel's even on the job. Oh, sure, he's good, but not perfect (may he never be thus cursed), and one hopes he keeps that in mind! Relatedly, I recall dancing around the parental apartment many years ago when my first article was published. My father, appalled at my exhibition, warned me not to get a "swole head." Whether I did or didn't is for others to decide. Whether Gustavo will get a "swollen head" from all the attention, I don't know either. But I do feel there's nothing reprehensible about the over-the-top hype for a young man on whom the financial and artistic fortunes of a great performing organization rest.

I could tell a lot of stories about my days as a minor functionary at the New York Philharmonic during the Leonard Bernstein era, but, picking up on one of Swed's more colorful conceits, I'll give away only one quasi-secret: LB couldn't, to best of my observation, walk on water either. He was, however, one hell of a swimmer, to which I can personally attest.

That's all we really need of Gustavo Dudamel, metaphorically speaking.

Herbert Glass

Los Angeles

For many years Glass wrote for The Times about classical music.

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