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  • LAPA
  • Oct. 27, 2021
  • LOS ANGELES, CA, October 16, 2021 – The highly anticipated Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center (BYC), the new home for the LA Phil’s YOLA program, today officially opened its doors following a ceremonial ribbon-cutting with community partners and members of the LA Phil family including David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Chad Smith, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, architect Frank Gehry, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., LA Phil Chief Content and Engagement Officer Renae Williams Niles, and LA Phil trustees Judith and Thomas Beckmen. This morning’s event was highlighted by musical performances from YOLA and LA Phil musicians, who under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel an original work Made by and for the Future created by Yoni Fogelman from the LA Phil’s Composer Fellowship Program. Following the ceremony, YOLA’s Percussion Ensemble performed in the Edgerton Foundation Performance Hall as guests toured the building.

    The BYC is the first permanent home of YOLA and provides free music education to communities throughout Los Angeles County. Designed to build a sense of belonging and bridge communities and cultures, the BYC supports all YOLA programs located in South L.A., the Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A., as well as the YOLA National Symposium and Festival. Today’s festivities kicked off a yearlong celebration of special events and activations within the Inglewood community, laying the groundwork for the BYC to serve as a creative laboratory, learning hub, community center, and a lively, welcoming place for all.


    Chad Smith stated, “This moment has been years in the making, and to be able to celebrate in person with Frank, Gustavo, Mayor Butts, Judith and Thomas Beckmen, our students, and the City of Inglewood is incredibly special. We could not have gotten here without the generosity of a community that embraces arts education and understands its value. We look forward to welcoming the next generation of musicians, along with all our Inglewood neighbors, to the Center in the years to come.”

    Gustavo Dudamel said, “We knew that this would be an unparalleled building for a youth orchestra, being designed by Frank Gehry, that would inspire students to embrace and explore their musical talents. To be here and perform with students today, to officially open the doors of the BYC, is what brings the building to life. Being here with our community and seeing how music can transform a physical space into a home, is why I am a passionate supporter of YOLA and helping to develop the next generation of musicians.”

    Mayor James T. Butts Jr. stated, “We have looked forward to this day for so long, and our anticipation was only amplified during the pandemic when children were unable to attend in-person classes. This building, and the YOLA program, bring so much to the Inglewood and Greater Los Angeles communities, not just to the students, but as a resource for parents, educators, and administrators as well. We look forward to continuing to explore ways to work with YOLA and the LA Phil in the years ahead.”

    Frank Gehry said, “To the kids of Inglewood, I say, “LET IT RIP!” This is your building, and I hope you use every inch of it to experiment and to further your creative explorations. It was a joy for me to make, and I hope that it is a joy for you to use.”  

    Now the fifth YOLA site, the Beckmen YOLA Center represents a milestone in the evolution of the now 15-year-old YOLA program now serving 1,500 K-12 students. The first class of YOLA at Inglewood began classes in September and consists of 126 students spanning Grades 1-5, more than 80% of whom reside in Inglewood. The Center also provides the program with its first performance space and is equipped to support a variety of distance learning and professional development opportunities.

    Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the core of the BYC is the Edgerton Foundation Performance Hall, a performance space designed specifically to be the same dimensions and caliber of Walt Disney Concert Hall’s stage, providing YOLA students the opportunity to experience professional level acoustics. The design team for the Center once again paired Gehry and acoustician Dr. Yasuhisa Toyota, Founder and President of Nagata Acoustics America, who also collaborated on Walt Disney Concert Hall (2010). The Edgerton Foundation Performance Hall is designed to be able to 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. For smaller performances and rehearsals, the seating 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 Internet 2 video conferencing program, which is designed for remote musical collaboration. The building also houses offices and an open lounge space for parents and family members to use during YOLA hours.

    Joining Frank Gehry in the Gehry Partners design team are Craig Webb, Meaghan Lloyd, Thomas Kim and Richard Mandimika. 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.

    Support for YOLA and the Beckmen YOLA Center
    Capital support for the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood comes from Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen, Brad and Louise Edgerton/Edgerton Foundation, Amgen Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation, Diane and Ron Miller Charitable Fund, Seth MacFarlane Foundation, The Rose Hills Foundation, Jack Suzar and Linda May, Meyer and Renee Luskin, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, Living Legacy Foundation, R. Martin Chavez, Sue Tsao, The Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, Jonathan and Rebecca Congdon, The Rafael and Luisa de Marchena-Huyke Foundation, John and Luanne Hernandez-Storr, Ginny Mancini, Michele and Dudley Rauch, Thomas L. Safran, Dena and Irv Schechter, Lynn and Roger Zino, JL Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. R. Joseph Plascencia, Joanne and Joel Mogy, David and Linda Shaheen, Lillian P. Lovelace, Nat Damon and Ricardo Torres, Ginny and John Cushman, Ben and Debra Ansell, Anonymous, Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation, Bernard Natelson and Lisa Raufman, Maureen and Stanley Moore, Charles and Jo Ann Kaplan, and Jackson Henry in memory of Suzanne Gemmell.


    Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives, and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond. The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles). Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all of its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic, and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.

    Through Gustavo Dudamel’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program – inspired by Venezuela’s revolutionary El Sistema – the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to over 1350 students from vulnerable communities, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change. YOLA provides each student, from 6 to 18, with a strong musical and social foundation through participation in 12–15 hours of programming each week.

    With YOLA sites in South L.A., the Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A., YOLA engages students from more than 200 schools in L.A. County. Music study is complemented by leadership development opportunities, parent workshops, and performances. YOLA’s young musicians have performed on great stages all over the world, including the LA Phil’s two iconic venues – the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall – in many other locations throughout Southern California, on national and international television broadcasts, and alongside the greatest artists.

    In addition to YOLA’s local programs, YOLA National provides an ever-growing number of opportunities for young musicians, teaching artists, program administrators, and other stakeholders to learn from and create community with one another.

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