Skip to page content

The Orchestra as a Metaphor: Mahvash Yazdi

Watch & Listen
There’s a parallel between an orchestra and how work gets done in any setting.... It’s about individuals being the best at their trade, working as a collective.
Mahvash (right) and Farrok Yazdi

For LA Phil supporter Mahvash Yazdi, witnessing a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic is about much more than entertainment. “Every time we are going to a concert, I study: What are we going to listen to? Who is the conductor? What is the music…. We always look at the pictures of all the musicians. They are the team.” To experience the music of the LA Phil can be an education, and for Mahvash and her husband, Farrok, it always is.

That education is what inspired them to become members of the Philharmonic Council, a community of donors contributing $15,000 or more per year to the LA Phil. For Mahvash and Farrok, the talent and discipline of more than 100 musicians united by a single vision, before a dynamic leader who steers and steels the course—it’s a topic that never grows old. 

“I give a lot of business talks, and when I’m presenting to a group of people, I always use the orchestra as an example,” Mahvash says. As a corporate IT executive, she has put the metaphor to good use in her career and as she continues to mentor and advise industry leaders. The orchestra, like any shared endeavor, is about “the collection of individuals together, having a common vision and goal, to achieve what’s good for that collection of people.”

“And then you add jazz to it, the improvisation—that’s the next level where everyone is a master, and in every setting, they can adjust.” How a conductor leads, how musicians work together and adapt, how each instrument plays a part that together forms a whole, and the flexibility that true excellence often demands—Mahvash cannot think of a better example to cite than the orchestra. Such excellence, she is careful to note, “is never achieved in one single event, but rather through the consistent and steadfast pursuit of those things that we believe to be of great value.”

Because I truly believe without music, without art, nothing will work.

For the Yazdis, the LA Phil is one pursuit of great value. “I think this is one of the best investments,” Farrok says, “because it hits two courts: One is your enjoyment, and the other is to sustain the augmentation of life in Los Angeles. Because I truly believe without music, without art, nothing will work.” The Yazdis, who are originally from Iran, first started attending LA Phil performances as college students at Cal Poly Pomona. Years later, after an invitation to the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003, they bought season tickets and have been LA Phil patrons ever since. 

Mahvash and Farrok continue to support the LA Phil, because they trust that each season will offer stellar classical performances and incredible music from around the globe. “I love the world music. I wish we would do more of that,” says Mahvash. Today, they look forward to even more exciting world-music presentations at the LA Phil’s three venues, including The Ford, renowned for its diverse roster of eclectic musical programs.

Of their favorite LA Phil performances throughout the years, the Yazdis have many, but The Nutcracker with Dudamel: Tchaikovsky & Ellington from the 2022/23 winter season stands out in a sea of many greats. “For me, it was the best,” Farrok says. “Not only did I love it, I was mesmerized, and I don’t get mesmerized easily…. It was classical and jazz all put together, and—as the French say—it was a mélange, a big mix, and it was unbelievable.”

Gustavo Dudamel and dancers pose backstage at a December 2022 Symphonies for Youth performance of The Nutcracker, adapted for a younger audience. (Image courtesy of LA Phil Instagram)

With the arrival of a new Music & Artistic Director in 2026/27, the Yazdis believe the LA Phil will once again have the opportunity to welcome a transformative and bold new talent to the baton. “Gustavo has been good about mixing the old and the new and different flavors of music together. We have been so impressed with his leadership—he has taken LA to the next vision of music,” says Mahvash.

Though they won’t speculate, the Yazdis imagine the LA Phil’s next Music & Artistic Director could also be young, extra-talented, and masterful at bringing enthusiasm to orchestra and audiences alike. And whoever that person may be, the Yazdis trust—as befits the legacy of the LA Phil—that the new maestro will delight in discovering the canon anew, stretching and reshaping its boundaries to create a grander, more inclusive classical music field than ever before.

We hope you are as inspired as the Yazdis to become more involved with the LA Phil. For more information about the Philharmonic Council, please visit or contact us directly at 213 972 7209 or We look forward to hearing from you.


Music as Support and Community: Winnie Kho
Learn the story of longtime supporter and LA Phil Board Member Winnie Kho, who is originally from Singapore and has lived on the west side of Los Angeles since 2006. Much like many of our supporters, music has played an integral role throughout her life. Read her story.