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La Phil's Judith And Thomas L. Beckmen Yola Center At Inglewood Welcomes Its First Class Of Inglewood Students


The Beckmen YOLA Center will provide a gathering place for students from existing and future YOLA sites.

La Phil's Judith And Thomas L. Beckmen Yola Center At Inglewood Welcomes Its First Class Of Inglewood Students

Today, three years after designs by architect Frank Gehry were unveiled, the Los Angeles Philharmonic welcomed its first class of Inglewood students to the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, the first permanent home of the YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program that brings free music education to communities throughout Los Angeles County.

The Beckmen YOLA Center is the fifth YOLA site, with an additional 126 students, more than 80% of whom reside in Inglewood with other students attending from neighboring communities, and will provide a gathering place for students from existing and future YOLA sites. In addition to its youth programming, Beckmen YOLA Center will also be a space for music educators from across the U.S. and around the world to collaborate and learn. It will 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.

The Beckmen YOLA Center emerged out of a close collaboration between the City of Inglewood, architect Frank Gehry and LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.

The Beckmen YOLA Center, the second LA Phil project by renowned architect Frank Gehry, represents a landmark in the evolution of the now 15-year-old YOLA program led by Gustavo Dudamel and now serving 1,500 K-12 students. The first class of YOLA at Inglewood consists of 126 students spanning Grades 1-5. Its purpose-built design will significantly enhance the LA Phil's K-12 music education programs in communities throughout Los Angeles County by providing a space where YOLA musicians from dispersed program sites can work together. The Center also provides the program with its first performance space and will be equipped to support a variety of distance learning and professional development opportunities for local and international students, educators and administrators.

The mission of YOLA and the Beckmen YOLA Center is to help build a sense of belonging and to bridge communities and cultures. The Center will support all existing 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. During its first year of operation, the LA Phil will engage with various constituencies within the Inglewood community to begin to plan the long-term vision for the Center as a creative laboratory, learning hub, community center and a lively, welcoming place for all.

Chad Smith said, "With deepest thanks to Frank, Gustavo, Judith and Thomas Beckmen, the City of Inglewood and all the people who have given so generously, we were thrilled today to welcome our first students to this remarkable new home that fosters a continued love and appreciation of the arts. To be able to share in the excitement felt by our students and see their faces today as they began their latest artistic journey, was nothing short of inspiring. By expanding YOLA with a fifth site, and now a permanent home in Inglewood, YOLA has grown to be one of the most influential community-based music education programs in the country, while taking root at the very core of the LA Phil's identity.

LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel said, "This building is the realization of a beautiful dream: to create a space where young people can have access to beauty. It is a place of inspiration, transformation and a physical manifestation of our mission to change peoples' lives through music. We believe strongly that everyone should be able to play in a world-class hall, with the best training and teachers, and the Beckmen YOLA Center will offer that to young people for generations to come. I am so grateful to my dear friend Frank Gehry for sharing his unstoppable vision in all of its genius and generosity, and we look forward to this building filling the community with ever greater harmony."

Frank Gehry said, "I can't think of anything more meaningful than working with Gustavo and the LA Phil to create a place where young people can learn through music. The key has been everyone's commitment to give these students a space with the same stage dimensions and acoustical excellence as Walt Disney Concert Hall. That's what young people deserve here in Inglewood and everywhere in LA-a world-class instrument."

Frank Gehry and his Los Angeles-based design firm Gehry Partners, Nagata Acoustics, Tillotson Design Associates and Meyer Sound generously donated their design services for this project. TheatreDNA and Sonitus, LLP, donated a portion of their design services.

An adaptive reuse project, the Beckmen YOLA Center has transformed a former 1965 branch office of Security Pacific Bank designed by Austin, Field & Fry. The original building consisted of a full main level, a half basement and a small mezzanine. To accommodate the program, the design extends the building's basement and mezzanine levels to match the full 11,500-square-foot footprint, and a portion of the roof along La Brea Avenue was raised to provide optimal acoustics and to create a lantern effect for passersby, while allowing natural light into the large performance space below. The existing exterior materials-glass, metal, brick, tile and plaster-have been restored or replaced.

The core of the Beckmen YOLA Center 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 pairs architect Frank 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.

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