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15 August 2018

LA Phil unveils design by Frank Gehry for the Judith and Thomas L. Beckman YOLA Center at Inglewood

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 101South 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. lt 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] (2010, with Heart of Los Angeles), [email protected] (2014, with the Los Angeles County Office of Education), and [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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.