Peter Burt: Gustavo Dudamel’s defection signals a renewed East Coast-West Coast rivalry

The classic New York vs. Los Angeles tension is playing out on several fronts right now, causing discomfort for those of us who align with either side.

Gustavo Dudamel’s defection from LA to conduct the New York Philharmonic reflects more than a shift in power and a display of business muscle; The Venezuelan-born conductor, many feel, embodies inclusivity on an inspiring level.

But then we have the NBA: The decision this week by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, two of New York’s biggest basketball stars, to leave New York and Brooklyn and head west (to Dallas and Phoenix) didn’t just change the league’s balance of power. , but a decades-old rift between the Coasts has been exposed as Brooklyn rejected offers from two Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and Lakers.

All of this, however, is reminiscent of the West Coast-East Coast hip-hop rivalry of the 1990s.

Hollywood’s decision-making pyramid also experienced a push westward with David Zaslav’s rehabilitation in Beverly Hills and Burbank. Both socially and corporately, Jaslav was a major show business presence in Gotham.

And Manhattan didn’t even get much snow this winter.

David Geffen, who turns 80 next week, and his friend Barry Diller, 81, also personify LA characters who have reinvented themselves as New Yorkers.

Born in Beverly Hills, Diller became a major contributor to Manhattan’s renaissance, building the High Line that reinvigorated the West Side and Little Island, a floating cultural mecca. In interviews he enjoys declaring that the Oscars are an “antique” and telling PBS that serious filmmaking is over in Hollywood.

Geffen, while maintaining semi-invisibility socially, has brilliantly used his contributions to maximize the ubiquity of the Geffen name. Dudamel will of course conduct the New York Philharmonic at Geffen Hall. And the Geffen name is widely immortalized throughout Columbia University and UCLA.

Before Rediscovery, Geffen was born in Borough Park, NY and enjoyed making films Beetlejuice and raising music stars. Diller was a founding partner of DreamWorks and CEO of Fox.

Dudamel’s defection has had a serious emotional impact on LA music critic Mark Swede. Los Angeles Times, wrote that “In L.A. we were convinced that the benefits of our city far exceeded what the Big Apple had to offer. We were wrong.”

In New York, he believes that “the Philharmonic’s audience will grow as Dudamel changes the mood and musical range of the hall.”

as The New York Times observed, “Dudamel was no snob in L.A. He was happy to appear on stage with pop stars at the Hollywood Bowl as well as conducting works by Prokofiev.”

Signing to LA 13 years ago, Dudamel has won widespread acclaim for starting a youth orchestra and training thousands of aspiring musicians. Composer John Adams said, “It will be hard for L.A. to replace him. He changed the community by bringing a focus on Latin American culture.”

“He was mesmerizing and had a real cultural impact on this city,” said former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Arriving in LA at 26, Dudamel earned the nickname “The Dude” for his charismatic charm.

West Coast sports fans are hopeful that the well-traveled stars, Durant and Irving, will at least match Dudamel’s energy. After all, they point out, LeBron doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere; he Just became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader.

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