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  • LA Phil Unveils Design by Frank Gehry for the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen Yola Center @ Inglewood
  • Aug. 15, 2018


    Los Angeles, August 15, 2018 – Reaffirming its commitment to the mission of music education and community service, the Los Angeles Philharmonic today unveiled the architectural design by Gehry Partners, LLC, for its new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood: the first permanent, purpose-built facility for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA).

    Established by the LA Phil in 2007 and led by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, YOLA currently serves more than 1,200 students in South L.A., the Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A., providing free, high-quality music training and academic support. YOLA has grown to become one of the most influential community-based music education programs in the United States, while taking its place at the core of the LA Phil’s identity.

    Now, as the LA Phil prepares to celebrate its Centennial year beginning in September 2018, it is aiming to double the number of students that YOLA serves by establishing a permanent base for the program. The new Center will be, in effect, a third venue for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, alongside Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

    Gustavo Dudamel said, “As a young child in Venezuela, I joined El Sistema and learned firsthand that music has the power to change people’s lives. Now the LA Phil is doing just that through YOLA. We know that our engagement with young people in our classes in the Rampart District or East L.A. is every bit as important as our involvement with the audiences in Walt Disney Concert Hall. In fact, one side of what we do is incomplete without the other. That’s why it’s so important to build this permanent home for YOLA, and why I’m so grateful to Frank Gehry for understanding the LA Phil’s hopes and the dreams of our students.”

    The 25,000-square-foot, $14.5 million construction project will transform the former branch office of Security Pacific Bank located at 101 South La Brea Avenue, in the civic center of the City of Inglewood. Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, has developed the design for this Center in close collaboration with Gustavo Dudamel, creating a light-filled, flexible facility for rehearsals, classes, and performances. It will serve as many as 500 students a year from Inglewood and surrounding communities; provide a gathering place for students from existing and future YOLA sites and music educators from across the U.S. and around the world; be a cultural resource for the people of Inglewood; and act as the focal point of the LA Phil’s commitment to community engagement in the area.

    Simon Woods, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said, “We are honored and humbled to work with Mayor Butts and the City of Inglewood to establish this venue and carry forward our mission to engage deeply with the communities of Los Angeles. Over time, this new facility will provide thousands of young people the opportunity to realize their creativity, to take a first step toward a career in music, or simply to find camaraderie and confidence together. But there’s also a huge opportunity for the building to support and enrich this community in ways that we can’t yet even foresee but hope to learn over the course of the coming months and years. In essence, it’s about bringing people together, which is precisely the aspiration that Frank Gehry has articulated so beautifully in his design.”

    Frank Gehry said, “It’s a privilege for me to work with Gustavo to create a place where students can feel comfortable, secure, and welcome as they learn to express themselves through music. We hope that the building will become a center for the community to gather to hear performances of all types. I designed the Center to be a world-class instrument for the community, and I can’t wait to see how they use it.”

    Through YOLA, the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to students from underserved neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. Over the years, the original YOLA@EXPO Center, established in 2007 in partnership with Harmony Project and the EXPO Center, a facility of the Recreation and Parks Department of Los Angeles, has been joined by YOLA@HOLA (2010, with Heart of Los Angeles), YOLA@LACHSA (2014, with the Los Angeles County Office of Education), and YOLA@Camino Nuevo (2017, with Camino Nuevo Charter Academy). These existing YOLA programs serve students ages five to eighteen, who learn in a total of eight orchestras.

    The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center@Inglewood will not only enable the LA Phil to expand its program and root them permanently but will also elevate the organization’s commitment to the students’ families and to the broader community. As YOLA is predominantly an after-school program, the new Center will come with significant opportunities for morning uses that bring people together and address community needs. Today’s announcement signals the beginning of a period of community engagement that will run in parallel with detailed design and construction, and which will allow the LA Phil to understand how it can most effectively contribute to the Inglewood community and its civic ambition.

    The new YOLA Center is being realized thanks to a leadership gift from Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen. The LA Phil has acquired the site from the City of Inglewood with the support of Mayor James T. Butts and the City Council, as well as the encouragement of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

    The LA Phil expects to begin construction in spring 2019.

    Jay Rasulo, Chair of the Board of Directors of the LA Phil, said, “I want to express our deepest thanks to the Beckmens, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Butts, and especially Frank Gehry for making it possible for us to give YOLA this wonderful permanent home. Over the next year, as we celebrate our orchestra’s Centennial, we’re going to have dozens of exciting concerts, programs, and special events at Walt Disney Concert Hall and across Los Angeles for the public to enjoy. But if you ask where the LA Phil is going in the next hundred years, one of the best answers is starting to take shape at the new YOLA Center in Inglewood.”

    Mayor James T. Butts, said, “Today marks another amazing accomplishment for the City of Inglewood. I’d like to welcome the internationally renowned Youth Orchestra Los Angeles—YOLA—to your new home in the heart of downtown Inglewood. World-class cities attract world-class donors and talent. We are especially grateful to Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen for their generosity, and to Gustavo Dudamel and Frank Gehry for bringing their incredible legacies to this great city. And, on behalf of the entire City of Inglewood, we are excited to welcome the LA Phil family as the newest member of our extraordinary community. We look forward to the involvement of Inglewood youth with YOLA.”

    Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas added, “For over a decade, YOLA has provided thousands of our underserved youth with a world-class education in music that might otherwise have been out of reach, while also teaching them about citizenship, leadership, and social engagement. I am thrilled that the legendary Frank Gehry has designed a new home for YOLA in Inglewood, where young musicians can prepare to take center stage in our vibrant, creative economy and use the power of the arts to tackle challenging social problems.”

    Inside the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood

    The core of the Beckmen YOLA Center is a performance space that can convert into two smaller multi-purpose rehearsal spaces. In performance mode, retractable seating risers can be deployed to provide theater-style seating for 190, with an additional 70 persons being accommodated on a balcony. The seats and a large semicircular stage are set within an acoustic envelope designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, Founder and President of Nagata Acoustics America, and Frank Gehry. A glass-walled roof pop-up on the La Brea Avenue side of the building will create a lantern effect for passersby while allowing natural light to flow into the performance space below.

    For smaller performances and rehearsals, the risers can be retracted, and the core space can be divided by movable acoustic walls that extend from the floor to the roof structure. The balcony can serve as an observation area for the east space.

    A variety of spaces are provided in the building for orchestra, sectional, chamber, and individual practice. The choir room, an ensemble room, and a small practice studio are designed with recording capabilities to support YOLA students as they audition for high school and college. To enable these rooms to have multiple functions, the recording equipment will be mounted on a mobile rack. Built-in fiber optic cables will support distance learning and video conferencing. The building also houses offices and an open lounge space for parents and family members to use during YOLA hours.

    The existing exterior materials—glass, metal, brick, tile, and plaster—will be restored or replaced as a part of the building redesign. To accommodate the program, the design extends the building’s basement and mezzanine levels to match the full 11,500-square-foot footprint.

    Joining Frank Gehry in the Gehry Partners design team are design partner Craig Webb and project architect Thomas Kim. With Yasuhisa Toyota on the team from Nagata Acoustics America is Daniel Beckmann. The theater consultant is TheatreDNA, the lighting designer is Tillotson Design Architects, the acoustical consultant for ensemble and other spaces is Newson Brown Acoustics, and the sound and projection consultant is Sonitus, LLP, with support from Meyer Sound for sound reinforcement. Chait & Company, Inc., is the executive architect, and Elaine Nesbit is project manager. Frank Gehry is donating his personal services pro bono to the YOLA Center.

    Support for the Beckmen YOLA Center

    Thomas Beckmen said, “For more than a decade, I’ve had the privilege to see and hear YOLA’s students as they have grown into gifted musicians and inspiring young leaders in their communities. The YOLA Center will be a permanent, musical home for these students and generations of students to follow. We couldn’t be prouder to play our part in helping the LA Phil realize this historic expansion of YOLA. I thank all those who have made donations in support of the YOLA Center, and I encourage all who share our belief in the power of music to change lives to join us in supporting YOLA at this transformational moment in its evolution.”

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic is grateful to the following donors, who are early contributors to the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood: Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen, Amgen Foundation, Carrie and Stuart Ketchum, Linda May and Jack Suzar, Rob Lovelace and Alicia Miñana, Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, Sue Tsao, Legacy Foundation, Dena and Irv Schechter/The Hyman Levine Family Foundation: L’DOR V’DOR, Becca and Jonathan Congdon, the Wells Fargo Foundation, JL Foundation, Nat Damon and Ricardo Torres, Debra and Benjamin Ansell, Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation, and Dr. Lisa Raufman and Dr. Bernard F. Natelson.


    For event press kit click here.

    For event photographs click here.


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