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Gustavo Dudamel says he's completed scoring Simon Bolivar movie

August 12, 2013|By David Ng
  • Gustavo Dudamel conducting members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Shrine Auditorium in 2012.
Gustavo Dudamel conducting members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

Gustavo Dudamel keeps a busy professional schedule filled to the breaking point with conducting engagements in Los Angeles and Caracas, Venezuela, plus other major cities. Still, he's managed to find time in recent months to compose and conduct the score for an upcoming biopic of Simón Bolivar.

In a recent interview with The Times, Dudamel said he has completed scoring and recording the soundtrack to the movie "Libertador," which stars Edgar Ramirez as the South American revolutionary figure. The period movie, which follows Bolivar's life and military adventures, is awaiting a release date.

Dudamel, who conducts this week at the Hollywood Bowl, said the soundtrack was performed by members of the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and the Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir at recording sessions in Venezuela. (The conductor is the music director of the Bolivar Symphony as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic.)

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The movie represents the first time that Dudamel has composed music for a feature film.

"I tried to not take away too much from the images," he said of his movie score. "It was a fantastic experience, but I'm not sure I would do it again."

During the post-production process, Dudamel received support from an experienced source — Oscar-winning film composer John Williams. 

In a separate interview, Willams said Dudamel sought his advice on timing and other technical issues. "But I think what I ended up giving him was motivational support more than anything else," Williams said.

The "Star Wars" composer said Dudamel recently screened a version of "Libertador" for him and leaders of the L.A. Philharmonic.

"Libertador" is directed by Alberto Arvelo, a Venezuelan filmmaker who helmed the 2010 documentary "Dudamel: Let the Children Play," about Venezuela's El Sistema music education program.

The director previously collaborated with Dudamel and Ramirez in 2010 at Walt Disney Concert Hall in a concert of Antonio Estévez's "Cantata Criolla." Arvelo created a film that was shown during the performance, which featured Ramirez's narration alongside actors Helen Hunt and Erich Wildpret.


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