Today, three years after the architect’s designs Frank Gehry were unveiled, the Los Angeles Philharmonic hosted its first class of Inglewood students at the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center in Inglewood, the first permanent home of the YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program which provides free music education to the communities of Los Angeles County of Angeles.
The Beckmen YOLA Center is the fifth YOLA site, with 126 additional students, over 80% of whom reside in Inglewood with other students from neighboring communities, and will provide a meeting place for students from existing and future YOLA sites. In addition to its youth programming, the Beckmen YOLA Center will also be a space for collaboration and learning for music teachers from the United States and around the world. It will be a cultural resource for the people of Inglewood and serve as the focal point of LA Phil’s commitment to community engagement in the area.
The Beckmen YOLA Center, the second LA Phil project by a renowned architect Frank Gehry, represents a milestone in the evolution of the YOLA program, which is now 15 years old and led by Gustavo Dudamel and now serves 1,500 kindergarten to grade 12 students. YOLA’s first class in Inglewood consists of 126 students from Grades 1 to 5. Its purpose-built design will dramatically improve LA Phil’s K-12 music education programs in Los Angeles County communities by providing a space for YOLA musicians from dispersed program sites to work together. The Center is also providing 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 create a sense of belonging and to bring communities and cultures together. The Center will support all existing YOLA programs located in South LA, Rampart District, Westlake / MacArthur Park and East LA, as well as the YOLA National Symposium and Festival. In its first year of operation, the LA Phil will engage with various groups within the community of Inglewood to begin planning the long-term vision for the Center as a creative lab, learning center, community center. and a lively and welcoming place for all.
Chad smith said: âWith our sincere thanks to Frank, Gustavo, Judith and Thomas Beckmen, the Town of Inglewood and all the people who have given so generously, we were delighted today to welcome our first students into this new remarkable home that fosters an ongoing love and appreciation of the arts. Being able to share the enthusiasm felt by our students and see their faces today as they started their last artistic journey, was simply inspiring. By expanding YOLA with a fifth location, and now a permanent home in Inglewood, YOLA has grown into one of the most influential community music education programs in the country, while taking root at the very heart of LA Phil’s identity. .
LA Phil Artistic and Musical Director Gustavo Dudamel said: âThis 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 people’s lives through music. We firmly believe that everyone should be able to play in a world class room, with the best training and the best teachers, and the Beckmen YOLA Center will provide this to young people for generations to come. I am very grateful to my dear friend Frank Gehry for sharing his unstoppable vision in all his genius and generosity, and we look forward to this building filling the community with ever greater harmony. “
Frank Gehry said, âI 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 giving back. these students a space with the same stage dimensions and acoustic excellence as Walt disney Concert hall. This is what young people deserve here in Inglewood and all over 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 transformed a former 1965 branch of the Security Pacific Bank designed by Austin, Field & Fry. The original building consisted of a full main level, a semi-basement and a small mezzanine. To fit the program, the design extends the building’s basement and mezzanine levels to match the total footprint of 11,500 square feet, and part of the roof along La Brea Avenue was raised to provide optimal acoustics and create a lantern effect for passers-by, while letting natural light in into the large performance space below. The existing exterior materials (glass, metal, brick, tiles and plaster) have been restored or replaced.
The heart of the Beckmen YOLA Center is the Edgerton Foundation Performance Hall, a performance space specially designed to have the same dimensions and caliber as Walt disney The concert hall stage, offering YOLA students the opportunity to experience professional-level acoustics. The Centre’s design team once again associates the 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 convert into two smaller multi-purpose rehearsal spaces. In performance mode, retractable booster seats can be deployed to provide theater-style seating for 190 people, with an additional 70 people accommodating on a balcony. For smaller performances and rehearsals, the risers can be retracted and the central 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 eastern space.
A variety of spaces are provided in the building for orchestra, section, chamber and individual practice. The choir room, ensemble room, and small practice studio are designed with recording capabilities to help YOLA students audition for high school and college. To allow these rooms to have multiple functions, the recording equipment will be mounted on a mobile rack. Integrated fiber optic cables will support distance learning and Internet 2 video conferencing program, designed for remote music collaboration. The building also houses offices and an open lounge area for parents and family members to use during YOLA hours.
Join Frank Gehry on the design team at Gehry Partners are Craig Webb, Meaghan Lloyd, Thomas Kim and Richard Mandimika. Along with Yasuhisa Toyota in the Nagata Acoustics America team is Daniel Beckmann. The theater consultant is TheatreDNA, the lighting designer is Tillotson Design Architects, the acoustic consultant for ensembles and other spaces is Newson Brown Acoustics, and the sound and projection consultant is Sonitus, LLP, with support from Meyer Sound for sound system. Chait & Company, Inc., is the executive architect and Elaine Nesbit is the project manager.