YOLA National Festival
JULY 2024 • Empowering Youth, Building Community, and Showcasing Musical Excellence
An intensive summer orchestra program with a focus on rigorous artistic development, the YOLA National Festival is for young musicians from El Sistema-inspired programs and programs similarly invested in youth and community development through music throughout the country.
Musicians will convene in Los Angeles from July 2024 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 2024 program will feature two ensembles: the Symphony Orchestra for musicians aged 14-18 and the Overture Orchestra (formerly known as Chamber Orchestra) for musicians aged 12-14.
The festival’s purpose is to provide the highest caliber of orchestral training, artistry, and musical excellence through a community that serves youth with fewest resources and highest need.
We gratefully acknowledge the LA Phil's Learning Supporters who make programs like YOLA possible.
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 with optional principal and auxiliary instrument excerpts) 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 17: Applications open
February 23: Priority application deadline
March 3: Final application deadline
March 8: Recommendation due
March 27: Notification distributed to applicants
July 2024: YOLA National Festival
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.
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 Overture Orchestra.
Musicians aged 12-14 can apply to the Overture Orchestra. Musicians who are 14 years old can either apply for the Symphony Orchestra to be considered for both Overture and Symphony Orchestra or choose to apply only for the Overture Orchestra. Excerpts for the Overture Orchestra can be found on our Audition Requirements page. All applicants should only submit one application, with one set of excerpts.
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, Wichita State University, Assistant Professor of Flute; Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Principal Flute
Meghan Bennett, New York University, Music Assistant Professor of Flute and Director of Woodwind Studies
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, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 1848 Scholar and Teaching Fellow
Kai Rocke, Oregon Symphony, Bassoonist
Mateen Milan, Johns Hopkins Peabody Preparatory, Bassoon Faculty Member
Elizabeth Linares Montero, Sonarsix Sextet; YOLA at Torres, Teaching Artist
Luis Cardenas Casillas, Dallas Brass Chamber Ensemble, Trumpetist
JoAnn Lamolino, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Associate Principal/Second Trumpet; University of Hawaii, Lecturer in Trumpet
Burt Mason, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Associate Musician; Chamber Orchestra of New York, Principal Trombone; Broadway’s Camelot, Principal Trombone
John Hart, Keene State College, Assistant Professor of Music
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
Mellasenah Edwards, Baltimore School for the Arts, Music Department Head
Benjamin Hoffman, Brightfeather, Founder; San Diego Symphony, Guest Violinist
Francisco Diaz, Sunstate Orchestral Program-El Sistema, Director
Lauren Rausch, San Diego Youth Symphony, Program Manager; San Diego State University Community Music School, Violin Faculty Member
Tiffany Rice, The Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Middle School Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Global Education Practitioner
Chris Jenkins, Oberlin Conservatory, Associate Dean and Liaison to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Robin Fay Massie, Musicians of Mercy (MOM), Executive Director
Terrence Thornhill, Paterson Music Project, NJ, Teaching Artist; Northern New Jersey Youth Orchestra, Assistant Conductor
David Connor, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Assistant Principal Double Bass
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.