New bow in town

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CORRECTED 6:17 p.m. PT March 28, 2008

Gustavo Dudamel, the 27-year-old Venezuelan they're calling the new Leonard Bernstein, filled the Walt Disney Hall Wednesday when he played for the first time with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Playing his borrowed 18th century Guarneri del Gesu violin, Dudamel and his four playmates gave a serene account of Mozart's amiable Clarinet Quintet in A Major. He studied his instrument with Jose Luis Jimenez at Venezuela's Jacinto Lara Conservatory, attaining a suave dexterity that showed when his part came to the fore.

Dudamel takes over next year as the new music director of the philharmonic. Friday night, he'll be conducting the full orchestra for the first time. The program features a composition by his predecessor on the podium, Esa-Pekka Salonen, "Insomnia," and other works by Prokofiev and Berlioz.

Members of the quintet were Martin Chalifour, Dudamel, Michele Zukovsky, Peter Stumpf and Dale Hikawa Silverman.

At 17, Dudamel took over as music director of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and since then has been invited to the podium of numerous symphony orchestras all over the world, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and the Chicago Symphony.
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