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Inglewood, California

In the heart of Los Angeles the transformative journey of the Youth Orchestra of Los
Angeles (YOLA) began in 2007 with an ambitious initiative to democratize access to
music education to underprivileged youth. Led by visionary composer Gustavo Dudamel,
he would find and rent affordable abandoned spaces to share his passion for music with
children who could not afford formal music training. The program was patterned after El
Sistema, the youth music education program in Venezuela where Dudamel studied violin.

The pursuit of a permanent home for the program began in an old Burger King building
owned by the City of Inglewood. The site location was crucial for bringing this kind of
program out of downtown and directly into the community it would serve. The goal was
to bring Disney Concert Hall to the children. The project attracted an impassioned design
team that shared Dudamel’s vision, consisting of some of the world’s best architects and
acousticians, who donated much of their services to bring the project to life.

The adaptive-reuse of the space included 272-seats on a telescopic system which allows
the recital hall to be divided in half so two orchestra can practice simultaneously. Support
spaces include practice rooms, rehearsal rooms, and admin offices. Inexpensive materiality
like plywood interiors and innovative construction methods were used to control costs.

Opening in 2021, the Beckmen YOLA Center and the program it houses is already
transcending economic barriers by empowering over 1,700 young musicians, providing
them with free instruments, intensive music instruction, academic support, and leadership.

TheatreDNA provided theatre planning, theatre design, and performance equipment design and specification.




Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles


Gehry Partners, LLP

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