Megastar conductor? That won’t get you past Ben Gurion security

February 15, 2013

The world-renowned conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, was subjected to what his publicist described as “unpleasant and very unfortunate” interrogation by security staff at Ben Gurion airport last month.

The Slipped Disc blog revealed this week that the conductor was detained on both his arrival and departure from Israel. He was in the country for a series of eight concerts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr Dudamel is one of the most sought-after conductors around. Having made his name with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuala — which performed a legendary concert at the 2007 BBC Proms — he is now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and can take his pick of any orchestra in the world.

He has said that he “absolutely love[s] making music with the Israel Philharmonic” and has repeatedly chosen to be a guest conductor of the orchestra.

But although his latest concerts were another musical triumph, there is now speculation that he may refuse to continue his association with the IPO after being taken away by security for interrogation at the airport.

His publicist has said that she can “neither confirm nor deny” the speculation that he will sever his ties with the orchestra.

A source familiar with the details of Mr Dudamel’s visit blamed the absence of diplomatic relations between Israel and Venezuela for the decision to interrogate him.

Last updated: 9:39am, February 15 2013