YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)
Empowering Youth, Building Community
In the fall of 2007, the LA Phil and its community partners launched Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a music program for 80 students in South L.A.
YOLA currently serves more than 1,200 young musicians across four sites, providing them with free instruments, intensive music instruction (up to 18 hours per week), academic support, and leadership training. The program began as an adaptation of Venezuela’s revolutionary El Sistema music education program, but it is now an innovative model in its own right, guiding students and teachers from nearly 100 music programs around the country.
“To share music with children — who might not otherwise have access to it — is to share beauty, to share a different way of being. It can change their definition of what is possible for themselves.”
Music & Artistic Director, Walt and Lilly Disney Chair
Los Angeles Philharmonic
YOLA Sites and Partners
YOLA currently comprises four sites across Los Angeles. Though all are guided by a unified philosophy and mission, each site is designed differently to serve the specific needs of its community.
YOLA’s every success — from its local impact to its national influence — is built on a foundation of partnership. Through YOLA, community partners, peer program partners, and philanthropic partners come together to serve a common goal: putting the transformative power of music-making into the hands of young people who would not otherwise have access to it.
YOLA at EXPO Center
Location: South L.A.
Hours per week: 12-18
Number of orchestras: 3
The YOLA at EXPO Center program, within Exposition Park in South L.A., has grown to include three orchestras, mentorship, group lessons, chamber music, and parent programs.
YOLA at EXPO Center is a partnership of the LA Phil, Harmony Project, and the EXPO Center, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility.
YOLA at HOLA
Location: Rampart District
YOLA at HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) classes include music creativity, singing and solfège, ensemble rehearsals, and an hour of academic tutoring daily. This holistic approach fosters a sense of community and provides the students with the opportunity to take advantage of HOLA’s exceptional programs and resources.
YOLA at HOLA is a partnership between the LA Phil and Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).
In Our Community
Music gave me a life I never imagined I would have, and it made me realize that where I came from had nothing to do with where I can go.” - Marcela, YOLA, Class of 2014Support our Education programs
YOLA at Torres
Location: East L.A.
Nestled on the campus of Esteban E. Torres High School, a performing arts magnet school in East L.A., YOLA at Torres offers students the opportunity to thrive in an intensive, nurturing musical environment, receiving up to 15 hours of musical instruction and academic tutoring per week.
YOLA at Torres receives logistics and infrastructure support from the East L.A. Performing Arts Magnet and Beyond the Bell.
YOLA at Camino Nuevo
Location: Westlake/MacArthur Park
YOLA at Camino Nuevo is the first in-school YOLA model, allowing the LA Phil to bring rigorous music education into the school day and extend it after school. Currently serving students in grades K-5, the program will grow to serve students through 12th grade at the Kayne Siart and Miramar campuses of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy.
YOLA at Inglewood
On August 15, 2018, the LA Phil unveiled the architectural design by Gehry Partners, LLC, for its new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood: YOLA’s first permanent, purpose-built facility.
The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood is the next step in YOLA’s evolution. The realization of Gustavo Dudamel’s highest aspirations for the program, the Center will deepen YOLA’s impact locally and expand its influence nationally.
Opening in the fall of 2020, the 25,000-square-foot, Frank Gehry-designed Center will serve as:
New YOLA Site
Welcoming 500 students annually with daily after-school sessions and weekend rehearsals.
Home of the YOLA Institute
A home and a haven for young musicians and a gathering place for a growing community. Providing leadership development and pre-professional training opportunities for students from all YOLA sites.
Rehearsal and Performance Space
Bringing together YOLA musicians from every neighborhood site and hosting free, monthly performances featuring YOLA, LA Phil, and community-based musicians.
Hub for YOLA National Programs
A gathering place for the nation’s music educators and advocates. Hosting the YOLA National Festival and Symposium, which bring together music educators, students, and advocates from Sistema-inspired programs around the world.
“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.”
Mayor James T. Butts
City of Inglewood