June 27, 2024

Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) to Host “Citizens of the World,” an International Youth Festival

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will host “Citizens of the World,” an international youth festival, under the leadership of LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, featuring over 300 young musicians from 23 U.S. states and Venezuela, coming together in two community concert days at Walt Disney Concert Hall on July 28 & 29. Through shared repertoire, cultural exchanges and workshops, the young musicians will unite around the theme of global citizenship. During their time in Los Angeles, the orchestras will share educational experiences, attending performances at the Hollywood Bowl, side-by-side rehearsals led by Gustavo Dudamel, masterclasses by LA Phil musicians and culminating concerts including side-by-side performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall. As part of the Festival, invited leaders and guests will participate in an immersive leadership summit with a keynote presentation and panel discussions surrounding bringing youth together, through music, into a global community.

The ensembles featured in the festival will include two YOLA National Ensembles, the YOLA National Symphony Orchestra for musicians aged 14-18, led by José Ángel Salazar Marín and the YOLA National Overture Orchestra for musicians aged 12-14, led by Kalena Bovell, as well as the National Children's Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. José Ángel Salazar Marín is currently the Jette Parker Ballet Conductor at the Royal Opera House in London, working with the Royal Ballet until 2025. From 2018-2023, he worked as Artistic and Music Director of El Sistema Greece. Kalena Bovell’s recent achievements include receiving the prestigious 2024 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and becoming the first Black woman to conduct an opera in Canada, where she conducted the world premiere reimagination of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha. The former Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony, she has also served as guest conductor with orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Hamilton Philharmonic and the Victoria Symphony.

“Music unites us. It connects people across cultures and continents.” said Gustavo Dudamel. “Our YOLA National Festival is a perfect example of this, bringing together young musicians from around the world to celebrate their shared humanity and creativity. It is in that shared pursuit of beauty, that art allows us to transcend borders to truly become global citizens.”

For “Citizens of the World,” Dudamel will bring together two of his beloved orchestras from both the US (YOLA National) and Venezuela (National Children's Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela)  to his LA Phil home at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The theme of the festival, global citizenship, has been a focus of YOLA and Dudamel, who have also just participated in “Chords of Harmony: the International Youth Orchestra Summit and Celebration,” a collaboration between LA Phil, Acción por la Música, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Palau de la Música Catalana and Escuela Superior de Música de Cataluña (ESMUC), during their recent international LA Phil tour.

“We are thrilled to host ‘Citizens of the World,’” said Elsje Kibler-Vermaas, LA Phil Vice President of Learning, who oversees YOLA. “This festival is about much more than musical excellence; it’s about creating opportunities for these young musicians to connect, learn from one another and grow as global citizens. At YOLA, we aim to support students’ personal development, their communities and beyond, and this festival beautifully embodies that mission."

YOLA National Festival is an intensive summer orchestra program with a focus on rigorous artistic development, the YOLA National Festival is for young musicians from El Sistema-inspired programs and programs similarly invested in youth and community development through music throughout the country.

Musicians will convene in Los Angeles from July 21, 2024 for 10 days of learning with the festival’s amazing faculty, guest artists and performances with world-renowned conductors. Participation is free—travel, lodging, meals and programming are provided to musicians at no cost. The 2024 program will feature two ensembles: the Symphony Orchestra for musicians aged 14-18 and the Overture Orchestra (formerly known as Chamber Orchestra) for musicians aged 12-14.

The festival’s purpose is to provide the highest caliber of orchestral training, artistry and musical excellence through a community that serves youth with fewest resources and highest need.

Designed to respond to the changing needs of the field, YOLA National offers an ever-growing number of opportunities for young musicians, educators, program administrators and other stakeholders to learn from and create community with one another.

“Citizens of the World” International Youth Festival at Walt Disney Concert Hall conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

July 28, 5:30p.m. - YOLA National Festival Free Community Concert

National Overture Orchestra:
Nkeriu OKOYE  Voices Shouting Out
Ethan CHAPARRO  A Troupe’s Cadence (world premiere by LA Phil Composer Fellow, Sue Tsao Chair)
STILL  Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American Symphony,” IV. Lento, con risoluzione
BERLIOZ  Hungarian March from The Damnation of Faust

National Symphony Orchestra:
SHOSTAKOVICH  Festive Overture
Adolphus HAILSTORK  Three Spirituals for Orchestra
SAINT-SAËNS  Symphony No.3, Finale

July 29 5:30p.m. – National Children's Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela Free Community Concert

ADAMS ​ Short Ride in a Fast Machine
​​ESTEVEZ​ Mediodia en el llano
​​GINASTERA ​ Dances from Estancia
​​John WILLIAMS ​ Olympic Fanfare and Theme (w/YNF symphony musicians)
SHOSTAKOVICH  Symphony No. 5

Tickets for the performances on July 28 & 29 are free and open to the public. Reservations open on July 8 at the official website of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.