Frank Gehry will design a new center for the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a youth-outreach program established in 2007 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.
About 1,000 students across LA’s under-served neighborhoods are currently playing as part of Dudamel’s YOLA program, which provides intense musical training with the aspiration of teaching the next generation of musicians who may not otherwise receive the experience and opportunity to hone their craft.
YOLA is modeled after Venezuela’s long-running El Sistema program, through which Dudamel himself, born and raised in the city of Barquisimeto, received his first professional musical training. The same year he was named music director of LA Phil, Dudamel started YOLA to help kids in the LA area improve their studies and lives through music, and, perhaps, become professional musicians one day.
Through partnerships with pre-existing facilities, there are number of sites where YOLA runs its programs, however Gehry’s new center will be the program’s first commissioned building dedicated to its purpose alone.
“We commit ourselves as an organization to a better life for our inheritors. This amazing facility will ensure that,” said Dudamel in a press release announcing the center and the LA Phil’s centennial 2018-19 season initiatives.
Gehry’s design of the facility, to be called the Beckman YOLA Center after a gift from Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen, will transform a 17,000-square-foot building in Inglewood—originally built in the 1960s as a bank—into an administration hub for the city-wide program with teaching spaces for 500 students from the Ingelwood community who will train there. The new center is expected to open in about two years.
“Thanks to the time I’ve spent with Gustavo, I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them,” Gehry said in the statement. In 2003, his design of the 3.6 acre Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, home to the LA Phil, opened to the public.