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Open to select musicians from the 2021 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra, the YOLA National Institute (YNI) is an in-depth training program for young musicians interested in pursuing a career in the field of music.

We're now accepting 2021 applications. Please note: all students must first apply for the 2021 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra.

Program Overview:

  • The Institute aims to supplement students’ musical experience at home and at the YOLA National Festival. All program expenses, including travel, room, and board, are free.

  • Selected fellows work together as a cohort over the course of the academic year, exploring various career pathways and supporting each other as they navigate the college application process, or their first year of college.

  • Musicians are introduced to a wide variety of artists over the course of the year, engage in their own creative projects, and work to better understand themselves and the practice they want to have in their creative futures.

  • The program offers mentorship, travel opportunities, and financial support for college applications.

  • YNI Fellows are leaders who think critically about the arts, and actively seek opportunities to question the role of music in society, and in their lives. 

COVID-19 Update

Due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic’s continued effects, the full program and offerings of the 2021 YOLA National Institute will continue to be assessed and 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).

Program Activities

  • Convenings: Monthly webinars and 2-4 in person convenings during the summer at the YOLA National Festival, and continuing during the 2021-2022 academic year 

  • Mentorship: Fellows will work with artist-mentors who are leaders in their fields 

  • Private instruction opportunities 

  • Chamber music coaching 

  • Financial support for college auditions, including travel, application support, and guidance

  • Tour and travel opportunities 


YNI aims to support young musicians from communities traditionally underrepresented in classical music. YNI fellows are leaders who think critically about the arts, and actively seek opportunities to question the role of music in society, and in their lives. 

To be eligible to apply,  students must:     

  • Meet all eligibility requirements for the YOLA National Festival 

  • Apply and be admitted to the 2021 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra  

  • Be rising juniors, seniors, or college freshman for the 2021/2022 academic year  

  • Be able to travel within the United States 

How to Apply

All students must first apply for the 2021 YOLA National Symphony Orchestra. Students who are admitted to the 2020 Symphony Orchestra and meet eligibility requirements listed above will be asked to submit supplemental audition materials.  

  • Step 1: Apply to the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra. Please note you must meet all eligibility requirements for the YOLA National Festival to be eligible for the YOLA National Institute.

  • Step 2: Musicians admitted to the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra, and who are rising juniors, seniors, or college level freshmen will be sent the supplemental YNI Application. The application will include:

    • A video submission  

    • A FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom interview with each musician

Questions & Topics covered in the interview and video submission can include:

  • If you could choose any mentor to work with, living or not, who would you choose and why? This can be a musical mentor, an artist, or anyone you believe could inform your creative practice.

  • As you consider pursuing music beyond high school, and as your potential career path, what are the challenges you expect to face? What would you hope to gain through this program that can better prepare you for those challenges?

Important Dates

December 18, 2020: YOLA National Festival (YNF) Applications Open
March 6, 2021: YNF Applications Close 
March 8, 2021: YNF Recommendations Due
April 1, 2021: YNF Notifications distributed, YOLA National Institute (YNI) applications open
April 26, 2021: YNI Applications close
May 3 - May 12, 2021: YNI Interviews
May 15, 2021: YNI Notifications distributed to applicants
July 2021: YOLA National Festival *Official Dates to be confirmed*

Please note:
All YNI Fellows will attend the YOLA National Festival
Additional YNI Dates to be announced


2020-2021 YNI Fellows:


Cristal Martinez Perez, 17, Austin Soundwaves 

Emma Manigat, 17, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra 

Francesco Capitano, 17, Siman Orchestral Foundation

Juan Florez, 18, Miami Music Project

Gerdlie  Jean-Louis, 16, Kids 4 Harmony 

Sarah Chu, 16, Austin Soundwaves


David Vallejo-Lozano, 17, Miami Music Project


Gerdrose Jean Louis, 16, Kids 4 Harmony 

Jonathan Colon, 17, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts

Marcus  Gee, 17, KidzNotes

Ashley McCoy, 18, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra

Khalil Payne, 16, Tri M Music Honor 


Jose Arana, 17, YOLA at HOLA 


Elizabeth Perez-Hickman, 17, Miami Music Project 

Oliver Talukder, 18, The People's Music School, Youth Orchestras 

French Horn

Audrey Chung, 16, YOLA at HOLA 


Elise Montenora, 16, Juilliard Music Advancement Program 

Melvin Casillas Muñoz, 17, El Sistema Colorado 

YNI Alumni

2019-2020 YNI Fellows:


Francesco Capitano, 16, Simanof Orchestral Foundation
Juan Florez
, 17, Miami Music Project
Leslie Gonzalez
, 18, Harmony Project, Los Angeles
Gerdlie Jean-Louis, 15, Kids 4 Harmony, Longy Side-by-Side
Liliana Morales, 18, YOLA at EXPO
Angela Ramirez
, 17, Coral Reef Senior High School
Helena Singleton, 17, Sistema Tulsa


Hannah Esquivel, 18, YOLA at EXPO
David Vallejo-Lozano, 16, Miami Music Project
Geovanny Martinez, 16, YOLA at EXPO


Jonathan Colon Rosario, 16, The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
Marcus Gee, 16, KidzNotes
Danielle Liburd, 18, Atlanta Music Project
Gizelle Polanco, 17, YOLA at EXPO


Pablo Camacho, 18, Miami Music Project


Jonathan Webb, 17, McEachern High School


Madison Centeno, 18, YOLA at HOLA


Carlos Cano, 16, YOLA at EXPO
Ingrid Hernandez, 18, YOLA at EXPO


Jorge Avila, 19, YOLA at HOLA
Nataly Gonzalez
, 18, YOLA at EXPO

French Horn

Andy Gonzalez, 16, YOLA at EXPO