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Members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles)

About this Artist

Moses Aubrey, bass

Moses Aubrey started his musical career with YOLA. While in YOLA, Moses had the opportunity to collaborate with El Sistema Japan, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, among others. He was selected to be in the Orchestra of the Future, which played at the Nobel Prize Concert (2017) under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. In the summer of 2019, Moses toured Mexico with the Orchestra of the Americas. Moses recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in music performance, and he plans to continue his studies. In his spare time, Moses can be found outside photographing wildlife, from jumping spiders to great blue herons and everything in between.

Q: How long were you in YOLA, and what did you like most about it?

A: I was in YOLA for seven years, and there are so many great things about YOLA, it is hard to say. But one thing that comes to mind is the community aspect, from the teachers to the parents, students, and staff.

Q: Do you have a favorite YOLA concert or experience?

A: I have so many great memories from YOLA. It would either be working as a camp counselor or taking part in the Mexico tour. As an alum, it is always so inspiring to come back and see how the students are striving for the best, despite how challenging things really may be. Additionally, it’s equally inspiring to learn about all the incredible things everyone has accomplished, whether musically, academically, or anything else.

Q: How has music continued to be a part of your life after graduating from high school?

A: After graduating from high school, I decided to continue my musical studies at LACC, then transferred to UCLA. Recently I graduated with a bachelor’s in music performance. I try to stay involved in the YOLA community as well.

Q: What musician or piece of music inspires you?

A: I think all music executed well is inspirational, from Stravinsky to Kendrick Lamar. Today, Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben is inspiring me.

Leslie Gonzalez, violin

Q: How long were you in YOLA, and what did you like most about it?

A: I was a member of the first cohort of YOLA National Institute, and I loved how I got to meet wonderful colleagues and friends who have now become like family to me. We were able to travel and learn about how to be the next leaders of this world and bring about change.  

Q: Do you have a favorite YOLA concert or experience?

A: I have so many experiences that I treasure, but the most memorable one would have to be when I first played alongside the LA Phil with members of the YOLA National Institute at the Hollywood Bowl in the summer of 2019We were exhilarated and honored to be able to have this wonderful, unforgettable opportunity.

Q: How has music continued to be a part of your life after graduating from high school?

A: I have continued to study music after high school, and my love for music has continued to grow. More opportunities have come to me that have helped me diversify my knowledge of music.

Q: What musician or piece of music inspires you?

A: A piece of music that inspires me is Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. It’s a piece I first played while I was at Interlochen, where I was inspired to firmly pursue a music career. Whenever I lose my purpose or I am not feeling in the best mood, I come to this piece, which cheers me up and helps me remember the feeling I felt when I first played it. 

Gizelle Polanco, cello

Q: How long were you in YOLA, and what did you like most about it?

A: I was in YOLA for about 10 years, and what I liked most about it was making incredible lifelong memories playing music around the world with close friends.

Q: Do you have a favorite YOLA concert or experience?

A: The LA Phil 100 concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was an amazing experience to be part of, and all the performances were so fun to watch. Participating in several different events and performances around L.A. that day was also fun, especially because CicLAvia is an event my family and I look forward to every year.

Q: How has music continued to be a part of your life after graduating from high school?

A: As a cello performance major, I’ve continued to play music and perform in college. Practicing cello has helped me cope with everything that has happened over the past year.

Q: What musician or piece of music inspires you?

A: Although he isn’t a professional, my dad inspires me as a musician. Within the last year or two, he has taken up practicing the accordion and has dedicated himself to becoming a better player every day. It’s motivating to see how much my dad enjoys practicing and improving his skills.

Julia Rodriguez, viola

Q: How long were you in YOLA, and what did you like most about it?

A: I was in YOLA for about nine years, and what I liked most about it was the lifelong friendships I made there. I am still great friends with many of the musicians I met in the program and even get to work alongside some of them now.  

Q: Do you have a favorite YOLA concert or experience?

A: My favorite YOLA concert was our side-by-side with the LA Phil in 2013. That was my first time sharing a stand with an LA Phil musician, and I remember the fan-girl feeling of being up there with them. For me back then, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is just unbelievable to think that it wasn’t just once-in-a-lifetime after all. Fortunately, I have had the privilege to continue playing with them after my years in the program.

Q: How has music continued to be a part of your life after graduating from high school?

A: I am still very active with music, thankfully. After high school, I went on to study music and am in the process of finalizing my degree in music education. I also work at YOLA, so I am surrounded by music even when I am not playing it. 

Q: What musician or piece of music inspires you?

A: The piece Intermezzo by Manuel Ponce, specifically as played by David Witten. I discovered this piece when I was in a really dark place in my life, and it instilled in me the many feelings I thought I was no longer in touch with.