Many of the great composers who were also great performers were well known for championing the works of others. Mendelssohn, as conductor, was essential in restoring the nearly forgotten legacy of J.S. Bach. Similarly, he re-introduced Schubert who had all but disappeared to audiences in the mid-19th century.
Dudamel has become the embodiment of the cultural renaissance of Los Angeles. I never tire of watching the dip in his knees when a particularly pungent musical passage comes along and then the way he rises on his toes for a fanfare. His solidarity with the youth of his troubled native country is commendable and this is where he feels his focus should be. But is the Ode to Joy Dudamel's sotto voce answer to his critics who decry his silence on Venezuela? Beethoven may have been deaf, but Dudamel is not.