LA Phil Blog

Side by Side: Gustavo and YOLA in Boston

Side by Side: Gustavo and YOLA in Boston

Gustavo Dudamel with YOLA students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Youth Orchestra Los Angeles' (YOLA's) musical adventures continued throughout the group's action-packed Boston weekend! From touring Harvard to playing in an open rehearsal led by Gustavo Dudamel at MIT, these 10 talented students immersed themselves in academic life on the other coast.

One of the biggest thrills came Saturday when Gustavo led the YOLA students, along with the "Sistema Side by Side" orchestra, in an open rehearsal featuring excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Fifth at MIT's Kresge Auditorium. The orchestra is comprised of 60 children from Sistema programs in Massachusetts and members of the Longy Conservatory Orchestra. Immediately after the performance, The Longy School of Music of Bard College honored Maestro Dudamel with the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award. Longy President Karen Zorn presented the award with the late Bernstein's daughter, Jamie Bernstein, in an effort to highlight the link between Gustavo's career as artist and advocate for El Sistema and Bernstein's father’s artistry and legacy as an arts education advocate.

The LA Phil's dedication to educational initiatives, and the part they played on this particular tour, made the orchestra's final stop in Boston even more meaningful.

Jamaiya, a 16-year-old viola player and YOLA student since 2008, may have said it best: "Music is my muse. I can crawl into the spaces between notes and turn my back on loneliness, anger, hurt, stress and all negative energy. Music is the shorthand of emotion. It's an explosive expression of humanity."

Look out, Harvard! Here we come!

YOLA students check out Harvard's ivy-league stature and the streets of Cambridge.

YOLA at Expo String Quartet students with their LA Phil coach, violist Richard Elegino.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the open rehearsal inside MIT's Kresge Auditorium.

LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda kicks off the "Side by Side" concert.

Laura, aged 16, and a YOLA student since 2007, plays violin in Boston for a young friend.

The YOLA students mix it up at LAX before boarding their plane to Boston.

Jamaiya, aged 16, practices "an explosive expression of humanity" before the tour.