Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel was detained in Israel earlier this month following a performance with the country's Philharmonic Orchestra. According to The L.A. Times, the 32-year-old head of the LA Phil was accused of not carrying the Israeli orchestra's letter of invitation, which led interrogators to question the curly-haired classical icon at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport.
The confrontation has led to speculation by the Jewish Daily Forward that Dudamel will no longer collaborate in Israel, and has incited a wave of classical music bloggers to rush to the defense of their beloved conductor. For instance, music blogger Richard Silverstein has turned Dudamel's situation into an issue of international intrigue. He claims that the conductor's detainment was sparked by not-so-amicable relations between Dudamel's home country and Israel, citing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's alliance with Iran. Arts Journal writer Norman Lebrecht issued similar sentiments, stating that Dudamel was singled out as a citizen of Venezuela.
Dudamel recently took to the blogosphere to respond to his uncomfortable traveling incident, stating: "These matters are both unpleasant and very unfortunate. I love making music with the Israel Philharmonic and we hope to find ways of working with them in the future." Venezuelan authorities were not as restrained in their statement, however, calling the confrontation "evidence of attack politics and discrimination that Israel perpetrated against citizens of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."
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