YOLA National Festival
JULY 7–JULY 16, 2023 • Empowering Youth, Building Community and Musical Excellence
An intensive summer orchestra program with a focus on rigorous artistic development, the YOLA National Festival is for young musicians from Sistema-inspired programs and programs similarly invested in youth and community development through music.
Musicians will convene in Los Angeles from July 7–July 16, 2023 for 10 days of learning with the festival’s amazing faculty, guest artists, and performances with world-renowned conductors. Participation is free—travel, lodging, meals, and programming are provided to musicians at no cost. The 2023 program will feature two ensembles: the Symphony Orchestra for musicians aged 14-18 and the Chamber Orchestra for musicians aged 12-14.
The festival’s purpose is to connect civically-minded young musicians from diverse regions across the country. Bringing together this community who share a common interest of achieving musical excellence serves as the nexus for the progressive future of music education while modeling the future of orchestral ensembles.
Application Information & Timeline
Your application involves these core components:
To begin: Create an account or log in to the Acceptd platform via the Apply Now link
Fill out the application which includes parent/guardian information, educational, and musical background
Upload your musical audition (2-3 excerpts and scales) and personal statement videos*
Submit a recommendation from a program manager or teacher
Upload the required consent forms
*Instrument specific excerpts and details about the personal statement are available on our Audition Requirements page.
Once you have created your login on our application platform Acceptd, we suggest you download the application checklist linked in the Application Materials list below, begin practicing your required excerpts, and be sure to get support from a teaching artist or program manager for your musical audition and your personal statement.
November 15: Applications open
February 15: Applications close
February 22: Recommendation due
March 20: Notification distributed to applicants
July 7 – July 16: YOLA National Festival
July 15: YOLA National Festival Performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall
English & Español
Young musicians applying for the YOLA National Festival must meet the program and age requirements in order to participate in the YOLA National Festival.
All applicants must be enrolled in an El Sistema-inspired program, or a program that is similarly invested in youth development practices. While each program operates differently, there are basic tenets which this Festival aims to support.
For full details about program eligibility, please download our Eligibility PDF. If you have any questions about whether your music learning program meets eligibility requirements, please email us at YOLA@laphil.org.
High school musicians between the ages 14-18 can apply to the Symphony Orchestra. 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.
Musicians aged 12-14 can apply to the Chamber Orchestra. Musicians who are 14 years old can either apply for the Symphony Orchestra to be considered for both Chamber and Symphony Orchestra or choose to apply only for the Chamber Orchestra. Excerpts for the Chamber Orchestra can be found on our Audition Requirements page. All applicants should only submit one application, with one set of excerpts.
The health and safety of our young musicians are our highest priorities, and our decisions will be dependent on guidance from the California Department of Public Health, the LA County Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In accordance with the LA Phil’s Vaccination Policy, all musicians, faculty, and staff participating in the YOLA National Festival will be required to be fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means two weeks have passed since receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Additional COVID-related policies for Summer 2023 will be in alignment with the latest guidance available from public health agencies and the YNF residential campus policies.
Please note, travel and in-person activities for the 2023 YOLA National Festival may be impacted by changes, orders or recommendations set forth by the California Department of Public Health, the LA County Department of Public Health and/or the CDC due to the severity of COVID-19 and/or any surge in cases or new variants. Any changes to the festival schedule will be communicated ahead of time to all participants. The LA Phil reserves all rights to make changes to the festival schedule and programming, and COVID-19 protocols at any time.
YOLA National Festival applicants are required to provide proof of full vaccination via the Accepted application platform at the time of submission (Feb. 15, 2023). While exemptions to vaccination can be accepted, it is very rare for them to be approved and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Photo gallery of past YOLA National Festivals
Check out other YOLA National videos & hear from former students
YOLA National Festival Staff
Music & Artistic Director, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Hilary Jones, Diller-Quaile School of Music, Faculty Member; Wichita State University, Assistant Professor; Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Principal Flute
Geoffrey Johnson, Western Michigan University, Adjunct Oboe Professor
Andrés Mendoza, Weimar University, Music Faculty
Mariam Adam, Chineke Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble, Principal Clarinet; International Soloist and musician
Berginald Rash, American clarinetist, TEDx Speaker, and Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Vivre Musicale, Inc.
Kai Rocke, Minnesota Orchestra, Rosemary and David Good Fellow
Mateen Milan, Johns Hopkins Peabody Preparatory, Bassoon Faculty Member
Elizabeth Linares, Sonarsix Sextet; YOLA at Torres, Teaching Artist
Corbin Castro, North Carolina Symphony, French Hornist
Herb Smith, Rochester Philharmonic
Burt Mason, Chamber Orchestra of New York, Principal Trombone, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associate Musician, Juilliard Music Advancement Program, Trombone and Low Brass Instructor
Angel Subero, Berklee College of Music, Assistant Professor
Ruben Hernandez, San Diego Youth Symphony, OPUS, Teaching Artist
Megumi Smith, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Music faculty; Santa Monica College - Percussion Ensemble Director; YOLA at HOLA, Teaching Artist
Mariesther Alvarez, Boston String Academy, Director, Violin Faculty; Longy School of Music of Bard College, Teacher Education
Mellasenah Edwards, Baltimore School for the Arts, Music Department Head
Benjamin Hoffman, Redlands Symphony, Principal Second Violin; Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra
Francisco Diaz, El Sistema USA, Sunstate Orchestral Program
Lauren Rausch, John Hopkins Peabody Preparatory, Director, Young People's String Program & Coordinator, Tuned-In Program
Tiffany Rice, The Windsor School, Boston, MA, Director of Performing Arts and Music Faculty
Chris Jenkins, Oberlin Conservatory, Associate Dean and Liaison to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Robin Fay Massie, Musicians of Mercy, Executive Director
Terrence Thornhill, Paterson Music Project, NJ, Teaching Artist; Northern New Jersey Youth Orchestra, Assistant Conductor
David Connor, Houston Symphony Orchestra - Community Embedded Musician
Chantal Incandela, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Press & Communications Manager
More about YOLA National
For a full list of FAQ’s, please see the FAQ document linked in the above Student Application Materials section. If you have any further questions, please email YOLA@laphil.org.