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Gustavo Dudamel in Japan prior to L.A. Phil season opener

Gustavo Dudamel was in Japan on Friday -- just three days before he is scheduled to launch the Los Angeles Philharmonic's new season at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- to help open a music event in the country's northeast region that is still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

A representative for Dudamel confirmed that the conductor was in Matsushima, Japan, on Thursday and Friday to launch the Lucerne Festival Ark Nova, which aims to contribute to the recovery effort in the area. 

"He felt it particularly important to visit Matsushima, very near Fukushima, to work with their local youth orchestra these past two days and also visit the disaster area," said Mark Newbanks, the conductor's manager.

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The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experienced meltdowns following the 2011 tsunami. The troubled plant continues to experience problems more than two years after the disaster.

Dudamel has already boarded a flight headed for L.A., Newbanks said. He said Dudamel was in Japan for approximately a month, enjoying vacation with his family and then conducting the Asia tour of Italy's Teatro alla Scala. 

The Lucerne Festival Ark Nova is scheduled run through Oct. 13, and features an inflatable and mobile concert hall designed by the British artist Anish Kapoor and the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The event will also include an appearance by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Dudamel is scheduled to hold a free concert on Sunday afternoon at Disney Hall featuring members of the Youth Orchestra L.A. On Monday he will conduct the L.A. Philharmonic's season-opening gala concert at Disney Hall.

Photos of Dudamel in Matsushima were posted on his Facebook page.  

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