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Youth Orchestra Los Angeles

Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) provides young people, ages five through eighteen, with free instruments, intensive music instruction, and opportunities to perform on stages in their communities and around the world. The work of YOLA is focused in two areas: Local programs, which directly serve communities across Los Angeles, and national programs which provide opportunities for young musicians, teaching artists, program administrators, and other stakeholders to learn from and create community with one another.

*Programming and artists subject to change, please refer to the participating organization’s calendar listing for the most up-to-date program.

Performance Times

Saturday November 18th, 5:30PM

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California Festival: YOLA Institute Concert


Selection of Carrot Revolution for string quartet
Gabriella SMITH

Kake Hashi ~Bridging the Gap~
Megumi SMITH


Mad Libs
(LA Phil co-commission with New Music USA)

Featuring YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) and musicians from the Juilliard School

Program Notes

Mad Libs: A journey through storytelling and the celebration of dynamic women composers is a performance that highlights the creative genius of youth voices and the rapturous compositions of living women composers. The centerpiece of the concert is the premiere of Mad Libs by composer Nina Shekhar, performed by the YOLA Institute Youth Orchestra.

As a co-commission with New Music USA as part of Amplifying Voices, Shekhar’s piece was written to inspire young players to take creative and compositional control of the score in front of them. A graduate of the LA Phil’s Composer Fellowship Program, Shekhar explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter to create bold and intensely personal works.

This performance is open to an audience of family and friends. Pre-concert activities commence the experience and weave in themes from the performances heard later in the evening. Joining the concert are musicians from the Juilliard School who will perform side-by-side with YOLA musicians.

More about Mad Libs:
Mad Libs for youth ensemble draws off the popular word game to allow students to create their own musical narratives. The piece consists of short stories and musical settings that contain “blanks.” The students fill in the story blanks with words of their choosing, then come up with sounds that represent those chosen words. The musical arrangements include corresponding “blank” noteheads, in which the students can fill in by playing the designated sound they chose. This framework serves as an identity metaphor for kids to insert themselves into these stories, center any kind of character, and explore the creative process of learning to compose a piece themselves.