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General Learning Program Questions

We offer a breadth of programs that take place in the community and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Please visit our program pages to learn more about our programs.

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Please send your request via email to learning@laphil.org. Be sure to include a contact name, email address, phone number, mailing address, and organization name in your request.

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Tours are scheduled through the Music Center. Please visit The Music Center for information.

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You can easily give online here. If you’d like to speak with someone from our Development Team, please call the Friends of the LA Phil line at 213 972 7557.

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YOLA National

YOLA National brings together those who believe that music education has a powerful role to play in youth and community development. Designed to respond to the changing needs of the field, YOLA National offers an ever‐growing number of opportunities for young musicians, teaching artists, program administrators, and other stakeholders to learn from and to create community with one another. Through this work, the LA Phil aims both to empower young people from populations that have been historically excluded from intensive music training and to foster a dialogue among practitioners that will help shape the future of the field.

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The YOLA National Festival is an opportunity for students from El Sistema‐inspired and aligned programs throughout the United States to perform as part of a top‐tier national youth orchestra. By offering young people the opportunity to learn from exceptional musicians, including world renowned conductors and guest artists, students become ambassadors of their programs and engage with young people from diverse regions and backgrounds. The festival orchestra aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded populations in the United States. Students will not only have access to top artistic and educational resources, but will also experience some of the world’s finest learning institutions and concert venues.

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YNF features two ensembles: a Symphony Orchestra for 100 of the most advanced musicians, open to students aged 14‐18, and a Chamber Orchestra that is an opportunity for younger musicians aged 12‐14. All students will have the opportunity to learn from a faculty of world‐class artists and to rehearse and perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

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YOLA National is the next phase in the evolution of the LA Phil’s investment in progressive music education under the leadership of Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, who is a product and champion of the El Sistema youth orchestra movement. The LA Phil introduced the Sistema‐inspired YOLA program in 2007. The program’s influence grew rapidly, and in 2012, the Take a Stand initiative—a partnership between the LA Phil and Longy School of Music of Bard College—was introduced to promote social change through music on a national stage. The initiative resulted in an annual convening of Sistema‐inspired music educators, a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree program, and in 2015, the creation of the student‐centered National Take a Stand Festival.
In 2018 the LA Phil introduced YOLA National in order to unify and expand upon these activities, with the exception of the Masters of Arts in Teaching degree program, which continues to be administered by the Longy School of Music of Bard College, now in partnership with Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) and Street Symphony. Under the “YOLA National” umbrella, the LA Phil seeks to be a nimble and expert resource for the field, continuing to host annual convenings for educators and students, but also introducing new programs and entering into new partnerships that respond to the changing needs of the field.

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Travel, lodging, and meals will be provided for all students, at no cost. A representative of the LA Phil will work with a travel agent to
book all travel for students. In doing so, they will ensure that students are appropriately chaperoned during travel transitions.

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Students will stay in dorms. Great care will be taken to ensure safety and accountability in these locations.

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We will do our best to accommodate all students to ensure that they have as healthy and positive an experience as possible.

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A specially selected group of artists involved with El Sistema‐inspired and aligned programs will serve as the teaching faculty and will share their talents as artists and mentors throughout the festival.

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Students will be carefully attended to throughout their time at the Festival. An experienced residential life staff will ensure that students have the supervision and support they need.

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No. The festival will be fully staffed (24 hours) with adults responsible for students’ musical growth, social well‐being, and safety.
While parents and adults are welcome to travel with students and attend the final concert, only those staff hired as music faculty
and residential life staff are permitted to be present during the days of the festival to ensure the safety of all students.

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Students applying for the National Symphony Orchestras must meet program and age requirements in order to be eligible to participate. These requirements are explained below.

Program Requirement:
Students must be enrolled in a music program that is either directly inspired by El Sistema, or in a program similarly invested in youth empowerment. While each El Sistema‐inspired or aligned program operates differently, there are basic tenets associated with such programs which this Festival aims to support. All programs must meet at least 5 of the following 8 criteria below:

  1. Students are playing music on their primary orchestral instrument in the program for at least 5 hours per week.

  2. Central to the mission of the program is music as a vehicle for social change and youth or community development.

  3. Programming is free or full scholarships are given to at least 80% of all students.

  4. The program provides a multi‐year commitment to students, offering support from childhood through the end of high school and/or adulthood.

  5. The program emphasizes ensemble‐based orchestral programming (students are learning in groups).

  6. Students’ success is evaluated not only on musical progress, but also on behavioral development.

  7. The program has key individual or institutional partners that provide expertise in music, community, youth, and social development.

  8. The program is a member of a national or regional organization that is a network for self‐identified El Sistemainspired programs (for example: El Sistema USA).

Age Requirement:

  1. Symphony Orchestra: High school musicians between the ages 14‐19 may apply to the 100‐member Symphony Orchestra. This is a highly competitive ensemble, open to the most advanced players from Sistema‐inspired and aligned programs from across the country. Excerpts for the Symphony Orchestra can be found on our Audition Requirements page. Applicants who are 14 years old, and apply to the Symphony Orchestra will automatically be considered for the Chamber Orchestra.

  2. Chamber Orchestra: Musicians aged 12‐14 are eligible for the Chamber Orchestra. Musicians who are 14 years old can either apply for the Symphony Orchestra, and be considered for both orchestras, or choose to apply only for the Chamber Orchestra. Excerpts for the Chamber Orchestra can be found on our Audition Requirements page. If you have questions regarding student/program eligibility, please contact yola@laphil.org.

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A professional panel will review all audition materials and consider factors including diversity in age, program, and geographic location, proficiency and musicality on the instrument, and alignment of students’ personal statement with the Festival’s goals. Musicians age 14 who apply for the Symphony Orchestra will be automatically considered for the Chamber Orchestra if not selected for the Symphony Orchestra.

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While past participants who are still eligible to apply may be accepted, they must re‐apply to be considered for the next year's Festival. All applicants will be evaluated using the same criteria.

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Toyota Symphonies For Youth

Please visit our Toyota Symphonies For Youth (TSFY) concert page to learn more about the concerts and purchase tickets.

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Composer Fellowship Program

The program accepts applications each Spring. Sign up for our mailing list by emailing learning@laphil.org; subject: 'Sign me up for the CFP Mailing List' to be notified of application information and key dates.

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High school-age students may apply for the program. Students should be entering grades 9-12 in the Fall of the year they apply.

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