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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.