Frank Gehry selected by LA Philharmonic to create centre for young musicians

The Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) orchestra has commissioned Frank Gehry to design a permanent new centre for aspiring professional musician in its home city – almost 15 years after he completed work on LA’s renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The American-Canadian architect will transform a 17,000sq ft (5,182sq m) facility in Inglewood to create a central resource centre for young musicians to receive training, counselling and mentoring on their pathway to joining the LA Phil.

The orchestra, which celebrates its centenary next year, wants to double the number of students served by its Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) programme to around 2,000 by 2022.

The planned Judith and Thomas L Beckmen YOLA Center @ Inglewood – named in honour of the donors funding the project – will support 500 musicians a year from surrounding communities.

The facility will provide space for members of the Youth Orchestra to practice and receive professional training. It will also be home to the orchestra’s Resident Fellows Program – which appoints the highest calibre musicians representing or serving historically underrepresented populations to play with the LA Phil for up to three years.

“The Beckmen Center will take the core beliefs that I have expressed and turn them into something tangible for the children of LA and help ensure a brighter future for them and for all of us,” said the LA Phil’s music director, Gustavo Dudamel. “We commit ourselves as an organisation to a better life for our inheritors – this amazing facility will ensure that.”

Gehry added: “The LA Phil is the first orchestra anywhere to take such an enormous step for the future of its community. Thanks to the time I’ve spent with Gustavo, I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them.”

John Lofton, the LA Phil’s bass trombonist and LA Phil Resident Fellows Orchestra chair, said: “This initiative is going to help usher extraordinarily talented musicians through doors that used to be closed to them, not just here but ultimately in major orchestras around the country and the world.

“Everyone recognises that a lack of diversity on stage is a serious challenge to the future of our music, and many organisations have adopted resolutions and programmes to address the issue. But I don’t know of any other orchestral organisation that is taking direct action on this level.”

Gehry is known for his love of music and has worked on several high-profile concert halls, including the recently opened Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin.

He was also in the running to create a concept design for a new Centre for Music in the City of London, but lost out to US practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Frank Gehry  Los Angeles  The Los Angeles Philharmonic  Walt Disney Concert Hall  music  design  architecture  Judith and Thomas L Beckmen 
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Frank Gehry selected by LA Philharmonic to create centre for young musicians
The Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) orchestra has commissioned Frank Gehry to design a permanent new centre for aspiring professional musician in its home city – almost 15 years after he completed work on LA’s renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall.