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YOLA National Institute

Open to select musicians from the 2020 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra, the YOLA National Institute (YNI) is an in-depth training program for young musicians interested in pursuing a career in the field of music. Selected fellows work together as a cohort over the course of the academic year, exploring various career pathways and supporting each other as they navigate the college application process, or their first year of college. Musicians are introduced to a wide variety of artists over the course of the year, engage in their own creative projects, and work to better understand themselves and the practice they want to build as they think about their creative futures. Additionally, the program offers mentorship, travel opportunities, and financial support for college applications. YNI Fellows are leaders who think critically about the arts, and actively seek opportunities to question the role of music in society, and in their lives. The Institute aims to supplement students’ musical experience at home and at the YOLA National Festival. All program expenses, including travel, room, and board, are free.   

Program Activites

  • Convenings: Musicians will participate in monthly webinars and gather for 2-4 in person convenings, including time together at YOLA National Festival, and again throughout the course of the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • Mentorship: Fellows will work with artist-mentors who are leaders in their fields

  • Private instruction opportunities

  • Chamber music coaching

  • Financial support for college auditions, including travel, application support, and guidance

  • Tour and travel opportunities


YNI aims to support young musicians from communities traditionally underrepresented in classical music. YNI fellows are leaders who think critically about the arts, and actively seek opportunities to question the role of music in society, and in their lives.

To be eligible to apply, students must:    

  • Meet all eligibility requirements for the YOLA National Festival

  • Apply and be admitted to the 2020 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra 

  • Be rising juniors, seniors, or college freshman for the 2020/2021 academic year 

  • Be able to travel within the United States

How to Apply

All students must first apply for the 2020 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra. Students who are admitted to the 2020 Symphony Orchestra and meet eligibility requirements listed above will be asked to submit supplemental audition materials.  

  • Step 1: Apply to the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra. Please note you must meet all eligibility requirements for the YOLA National Festival to be eligible for the YOLA National Institute.

  • Step 2: Musicians admitted to the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra, and who are rising juniors, seniors, or college level freshmen will be sent the supplemental YNI Application. The application will include:

    • A video submission  

    • A Facetime, Skype, or Zoom interview with each musician

Questions & Topics covered in the interview and video submission can include:

  • If you could choose any mentor to work with, living or not, who would you choose and why? This can be a musical mentor, an artist, or anyone you believe could inform your creative practice

  • As you consider pursuing music beyond high school, and as your potential career path, what are the challenges you expect to face? What would you hope to gain through this program that can better prepare you for those challenges?


Important Dates

December 6, 2019

YOLA National Festival (YNF) Applications Open

February 17, 2020

YNF Applications Close

February 21, 2020

YNF Recommendations Due

March 13, 2020

YNF Notifications distributed

YOLA National Institute (YNI) applications open

March 30, 2020

YNI Applications close

April 4-11, 2020

YNI Finalists Interviews

April 15, 2020

YNI Notifications distributed to applicants

June 30-July 12, 2020

YOLA National Festival

**All YNI Fellows will attend the YOLA National Festival
**Additional YNI Dates to be announced

2019 YNI Fellows:


Francesco Capitano, 16, Simanof Orchestral Foundation
Juan Florez
, 17, Miami Music Project
Leslie Gonzalez
, 18, Harmony Project, Los Angeles
Gerdlie Jean-Louis, 15, Kids 4 Harmony, Longy Side-by-Side
Liliana Morales, 18, YOLA at EXPO
Angela Ramirez
, 17, Coral Reef Senior High School
Helena Singleton, 17, Sistema Tulsa


Hannah Esquivel, 18, YOLA at EXPO
David Vallejo-Lozano, 16, Miami Music Project
Geovanny Martinez, 16, YOLA at EXPO


Jonathan Colon Rosario, 16, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
Marcus Gee, 16, KidzNotes
Danielle Liburd, 18, Atlanta Music Project
Gizelle Polanco, 17, YOLA at EXPO


Pablo Camacho, 18, Miami Music Project


Jonathan Webb, 17, McEachern High School


Madison Centeno, 18, YOLA at HOLA


Carlos Cano, 16, YOLA at EXPO
Ingrid Hernandez, 18, YOLA at EXPO


Jorge Avila, 19, YOLA at HOLA
Nataly Gonzalez
, 18, YOLA at EXPO

French Horn

Andy Gonzalez, 16, YOLA at EXPO