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LA Phil unveils Inglewood home of youth orchestra


In reaffirming its commitment to the mission of music education and community service, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has  unveiled the architectural design by Gehry Partners, LLC, for its new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood in representing the first permanent facility for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA).

Established by the LA Phil in 2007 and led by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, YOLA serves more than 1,200 students in South L.A., the Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A. They provide free, high-quality music training and academic support.

As the LA Phil prepares this month to celebrate its centennial year, it is aiming to double the number of students that YOLA serves by establishing a permanent base for the program. The new center will be, in effect, a third venue for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, alongside Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

“This marks another amazing accomplishment for the City of Inglewood. Id like to welcome the internationally renowned Youth Orchestra Los Angeles—YOLA—to your new home in the heart of downtown Inglewood,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said a the announcement. “World-class cities attract world-class donors and talent. We are especially grateful to Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen for their generosity, and to Gustavo Dudamel and Frank Gehry for bringing their incredible legacies to this great city. And, on behalf of the entire City of Inglewood, we are excited to welcome the LA Phil family as the newest member of our extraordinary community. We look forward to the involvement of Inglewood youth with YOLA.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas added, “For over a decade, YOLA has provided thousands of our underserved youth with a world-class education in music that might otherwise have been out of reach, while also teaching them about citizenship, leadership, and social engagement. I am thrilled that the legendary Frank Gehry has designed a new home for YOLA in Inglewood, where young musicians can prepare to take center stage in our vibrant, creative economy and use the power of the arts to tackle challenging social problems.”

The 25,000-square-foot, $14.5 million construction project will transform the former branch office of Security Pacific Bank located at 101 S. La Brea Ave. Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, has developed the design for the center in collaboration with Dudamel, creating a light-filled, flexible facility for rehearsals, classes, and performances. It will serve as many as 500 students a year from Inglewood and surrounding communities; provide a gathering place for students from existing and future YOLA sites and music educators from across the nation and serve as a cultural resource for Inglewood and surrounding areas.

“As a young child in Venezuela, I joined El Sistema and learned firsthand that music has the power to change peoples lives,” Dudamel said. “Now the LA Phil is doing just that through YOLA. We know that our engagement with young people in our classes in the Rampart District or East L.A. is every bit as important as our involvement with the audiences in Walt Disney Concert Hall. In fact, one side of what we do is incomplete without the other. Thats why its so important to build this permanent home for YOLA, and why Im so grateful to Frank Gehry for understanding the LA Phils hopes and the dreams of our students.”

Simon Woods, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said, “We are honored and humbled to work with Mayor Butts and the City of Inglewood to establish this venue and carry forward our mission to engage deeply with the communities of Los Angeles. Over time, this new facility will provide thousands of young people the opportunity to realize their creativity, to take a first step toward a career in music, or simply to find camaraderie and confidence together.”

“Its a privilege for me to work with Gustavo to create a place where students can feel comfortable, secure, and welcome as they learn to express themselves through music,” Ghery said. “We hope that the building will become a center for the community to gather to hear performances of all types. I designed the Center to be a world-class instrument for the community, and I cant wait to see how they use it.”

Through YOLA, the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to students from underserved neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. Over the years, the original YOLA@EXPO Center, established in 2007 in partnership with Harmony Project and the EXPO Center, a facility of the Recreation and Parks Department of Los Angeles, has been joined by YOLA@HOLA (2010, with Heart of Los Angeles), YOLA@LACHSA (2014, with the Los Angeles County Office of Education), and YOLA@Camino Nuevo (2017, with Camino Nuevo Charter Academy). These existing YOLA programs serve students ages five to eighteen, who learn in a total of eight orchestras.

The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center@Inglewood will not only enable the LA Phil to expand its program and root them permanently but will also elevate the organizations commitment to the students families and to the broader community. As YOLA is predominantly an after-school program, the new Center will come with significant opportunities for morning uses that bring people together and address community needs. Todays announcement signals the beginning of a period of community engagement that will run in parallel with detailed design and construction, and which will allow the LA Phil to understand how it can most effectively contribute to the Inglewood community and its civic ambition.

The new YOLA Center is being realized thanks to a leadership gift from Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen. The LA Phil has acquired the site from the City of Inglewood with the support of Mayor James T. Butts and the City Council, as well as the encouragement of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The LA Phil expects to begin construction in spring 2019.

Jay Rasulo, chairperson of the board of directors for LA Phil, said, “I want to express our deepest thanks to the Beckmens, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Butts, and especially Frank Gehry for making it possible for us to give YOLA this wonderful permanent home. Over the next year, as we celebrate our orchestras Centennial, were going to have dozens of exciting concerts, programs, and special events at Walt Disney Concert Hall and across Los Angeles for the public to enjoy. But if you ask where the LA Phil is going in the next hundred years, one of the best answers is starting to take shape at the new YOLA Center in Inglewood.”