Gustavo Dudamel

The residency of celebrated orchestra conductor Gustavo Dudamel is picking up the tempo.

Heralded internationally as a musical “superstar” and “the savior of classical music,” the Princeton residency of the 37-year-old Venezuela-born music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is designed “to explore the impact and relevance of music both inside and outside the concert hall, and to redefine the boundaries of all that the word ‘musician’ can encompass,” say Princeton University Concerts organizers.

The events are celebrating Princeton University Concerts’ 125th anniversary.

The residency officially began on December 1 with a prelude weekend of public discussions about music and concerts of classical and popular Venezuelan music.

A schedule of thematic performances and public events continues through late April and culminates with Maestro Dudamel conducting concerts in Princeton and Trenton.

Marsha Levin-Rojer

But the early January events are providing the fanfare that starts on Monday, January 7, at 7 p.m., with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic presenting a Dudamel-curated program that explores art and spirituality. The program includes chamber works by Mozart, the Estonian composer Arvo Part, and a new work by Princeton University faculty composer Juri Seo.

Ticketholders can also attend a 6 p.m. pre-concert presentation by students from Dudamel’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, a program based on El Sistema, the internationally recognized Venezuelan music program that engages poor children in music education to help them personally and socially achieve.

There is also the post-concert event, “Art and Faith,” with Dudamel moderating a discussion with Princeton University professor of religion Elaine Pagels and professor of philosophy and comparative literature Alexa-nder Nehamas. Tickets are $30.

On Tuesday, January 8, at 6 p.m., associate professor Javier Guerrero of Princeton University’s Spanish and Portuguese department, conducts a Spanish language interview with Dudamel titled “La Musica Como Libertad: Gustavo Dudamel en Princeton” (“Music as Freedom: Gustavo Dudamel in Princeton”) at Trinity Church on Mercer Street. The event is free.

On Wednesday, January 9, at 4:30 p.m., Dudamel will arrive at McCosh Hall 10 to participate in a free panel discussion on El Sistema.

A former El Sistema participant, Dudamel champions the innovative program and is interacting during the residency with Trenton music educators and the Trenton Music Makers’ El Sistema program.

The panel is being organized and chaired by Stanley N. Katz, professor of public and international affairs and director of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.

Other panel participants are active music education advocates Elsje Kibler-Vermaas, acting director of education for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles; Anne Fitzgibbon, Harmony Program founder and executive director; and Lou Chen, Princeton student and founder of the Trenton Youth Orchestra.

Also on January 9 is the 6 p.m. reception of the residency-inspired exhibition “Music Made Visible: Metaphors of the Ephemeral” at the Bernstein Gallery, located at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Featuring the artwork of Princeton artist Marsha Levin-Rojer, the exhibition visually explores music and directly expands the idea of music and its presentation. The work is on view through January 31.

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