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L.A. Philharmonic Brings Youth Orchestra Center to Inglewood 
By  Brian W. Carter, Contributing Writer  
Published August 23, 2018

The Youth Orchestra Los Angeles will be a flexible facility for rehearsals, classes, and performances while offering free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to students from underserved neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles county. (Photo By Brian W. Carter)

On Wednesday, August 15, the Los Angeles Philharmonic unveiled the architectural design by Gehry Partners, LLC, for its new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) Center in Inglewood, CA. The center will serve as the first permanent, purpose-built facility for YOLA. 

“I can tell you that there is no prouder day than this morning,” said Simon Woods CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic. “There is nothing which is more meaningful than what we are doing here, what we’re launching here in Inglewood.  

“It’s a historic day for the L.A. Phil.” 

The 25,000-square-foot, $14.5 million construction project will transform the former branch office of Security Pacific Bank located at 101 South La Brea Avenue, in the civic center of the city of Inglewood. Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall developed the design for the center in close collaboration with Gustavo Dudamel, music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a light-filled, flexible facility for rehearsals, classes, and performances.  

“We look forward to being your partner in raising the hopes, spirits and opportunities of your most precious resource—your young people” said Dudamel to the city of Inglewood. 

“Inviting us here with our new YOLA facility is a sign that your priorities align with ours and we promise to honor that trust every day in every way.” 

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.  

The new YOLA Center in Inglewood is coming thanks to Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen dedication to change and youth. The LA Phil 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. 

“YOLA is part of a broader movement in the county to use the power of the arts to tackle challenging social problems to emphasize the values of inclusion, equity and make sure that they are reinforced in all that is undertaken,” said Ridley-Thomas. 

“With the completion of the YOLA center here in Inglewood, YOLA will advance its social mission to a much higher level.” 

“We’ve had some extraordinary days here in Inglewood of late and today is another one,” said Butts. “If we had a native bird here in Inglewood, it would be the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. 

“It really wasn’t that long ago that the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. We had a crumbling infrastructure, record foreclosures, high crime rates and even higher unemployment. 

The unveiled design by Gehry Partners, LLC, for the new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Center. (Photo by Brian W. Carter)

“Today, we have $31 million in reserves, not counting $15 million surplus projected for this year alone. We renewed our infrastructure from our water mains, to our streets, to our sidewalks and soon this city will be served by three light-rail stations. 

“And while others have mentioned all that’s coming to Inglewood [sic] it is really the announcement of the L.A. Philharmonics Youth Orchestra Los Angeles establishing a home here in Inglewood that has me and so many others excited and especially proud.” 

“It’s a day when we plant the seeds for a big, beautiful tree that will grow leaves and fruit and provide an enormous amount of inspiration for many years to come—we hope for young people and this community,” said Woods. 

“It is their vision and generosity [sic] that enables us to be here.” 

“This dedicated space will enable YOLA to provide more advance musical training to more young musicians,” said Ridley-Thomas. 

“In addition to education, training and skills acquired by the youth at this center—this very special center, will open the door for each of them to a career in the creative economy.” 

Attendees were treated to live performances by YOLA alums Moses Aubrey, who performed on the bass, Dameon Williams, who performed on the clarinet and Edson Natareno, who also performed on the clarinet. Willaims and Natareno performed LAZARUS (arranged by Paul De Ville): Three Grand Concert Duets and Aubrey performed David Anderson: Capriccio No. 2. 

The YOLA Center will serve as many as 500 students a year from Inglewood and surrounding communities. It will also provide a gathering place for students from existing and future YOLA sites and music educators from across the U.S. and around the world. 

The Los Angeles Philharmonic expects to begin construction in spring 2019. 

For more information on the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Center, please visit www.laphil.com. 

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