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  • National Take a Stand Festival and Symposium Return to Los Angeles
  • Jul. 2, 2018
  • National Take a Stand Festival and Symposium
    Return to Los Angeles

    Second Annual National Take a Stand Festival to Take Place July 5 to 14

    Sixth Annual Take a Stand Symposium to Take Place July 13 and 14

    National Take a Stand Festival Orchestras, with Conductors including
    Gustavo Dudamel and Michael Morgan, Perform on July 14

    at Walt Disney Concert Hall

    United Airlines is the official airline of the LA Phil's Education Initiatives

    Los Angeles, CA (July 2, 2018) - The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announces details for the second annual National Take a Stand Festival (July 5 to 14, 2018) and the sixth annual Take a Stand Symposium (July 13 and 14, 2018) in Los Angeles. The National Take a Stand Festival is an unprecedented initiative, launched in 2015 with the mission of creating a unified national platform for U.S. programs inspired by and aligned with El Sistema, the visionary Venezuelan program that nurtured LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The Festival culminates with performances from two national youth orchestras comprised of students from El Sistema-inspired and aligned programs from across the U.S., with conductors including Gustavo Dudamel and Michael Morgan, in a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall on July 14.

    2018 National Take a Stand Festival
    From July 5 to 14, 140 students ages 12 to 18 from 36 El Sistema-inspired and aligned programs across 39 cities and 19 states, from Alaska to Florida, will come together for an intensive 10-day national youth orchestra festival. For the first time, the festival will feature two ensembles: a Symphony Orchestra for advanced musicians aged 12 to 18 and a Junior String Ensemble for intermediate string musicians, aged 12 to 15. Twelve of these musicians will come from the LA Phil's own Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) program.

    The young musicians will have access to extraordinary artistic and educational resources, and experience some of the world's finest learning institutions and concert venues. In addition to learning under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, students will be led in rehearsals by Michael Morgan, music director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and artistic director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra.

    Students will also be instructed and mentored by a teaching staff that includes LA Phil musicians and an international faculty of world-class teaching artists. The 10-day intensive will begin at Soka University in Orange County, where students will stay in residence halls on the 100-acre campus and have access to the school's state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center. The program will culminate with three days in downtown Los Angeles, with students participating in rehearsals and educational workshops. The Festival will conclude on July 14 with public performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall by the Junior String Ensemble, conducted by Jeffrey Grogan (Director of Orchestral Activities at Oklahoma City University and Artistic Director and Conductor of Oklahoma Youth Orchestras) and Soo Han (Director of Orchestral Activities at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory), and the Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and Michael Morgan.

    With the opportunity to be mentored by exceptional musicians in inspiring settings, students participating in the Festival become ambassadors of their local programs. This project aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded and under-served populations in the U.S. Travel, lodging, and food are free for all students. The National Take a Stand Festival began in 2015 with a teacher-training and pilot program in Los Angeles, followed in 2016 by two regional youth orchestra festivals: one at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado and one at Bard College in upstate New York. The first-ever national youth orchestra from El Sistema-inspired programs was conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2017.

    2018 Take a Stand Symposium
    In conjunction with the National Take a Stand Festival, the 2018 Take a Stand Symposium - titled "Empowering Voices: Cultivating Student Ownership in the Classroom and Community" - will bring together leaders, teachers, and key stakeholders from around the world with a vested interest in the El Sistema movement and progressive practices in music education. Over the span of two days, participants will address and reflect on past, present, and future issues facing the field.

    This year's focal area is empowering youth voices as a means of improving musical and social outcomes in Sistema-inspired programs. Embracing this theme, young people will be actively involved as presenters and panelists throughout the Symposium alongside experts from the field, all bringing their unique perspectives on ways to deepen the impact of Sistema-inspired programs in communities across the country. Keynote speakers for this year's Symposium include Justin Laing, Managing Partner of Hillombo Consulting and former leader of the Heinz Endowments' Transformative Arts Process program; Harvard-bound recent high school graduate Xochitl Morales from the Mestizo Mariachi program in Delano, CA; and YOLA student Liliana Morales, who has been a part of YOLA since its inception in 2007.

    For the first time, the Take a Stand Symposium will also feature a three-day Teaching Intensive, including a full pre-symposium day on July 12, in which practicing music teachers and teaching artists dedicated to social impact and youth development will engage in collaborative work and professional development. Through discussion, skills-based workshops, and action-oriented sessions, participants will explore topics such as student-centered music instruction, fostering intrinsic motivation, cultivating student leadership and independence, and best practices in youth and community development through the arts.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres - orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop - at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil's season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,, 213.972.3422
    Lydia Fong,, 213.972.3689
    Photos: 213.972.3034