Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and USC Thornton School of Music launch first comprehensive West Coast post-graduate fellowship program for string musicians from underrepresented communities with generous grants from Andrew W. Mellon foundation totaling $700,000read more →
The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship Launches Fall 2018, with rigorous two-year in-residence training program including innovative audition support program designed to prepare participants to win auditions in professional American orchestras
Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), and USC Thornton School of Music jointly announce the launch of The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, the West Coast’s first comprehensive fellowship program for top-tier string musicians from underrepresented communities on the verge of launching careers in orchestral performance. The program is primarily funded by generous grants totaling $700,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With the first class of two violins, a viola and a cello slated to begin in fall 2018, The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship is a unique partnership between the country’s largest African-American-majority youth orchestra, one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, and a university with one of the country’s top music programs. Ultimately, the program seeks to address the lack of diversity within American orchestras, in which less than 5% of the workforce is African American, Hispanic or Native American, according to a 2016 report on diversity issued by the League of American Orchestras. The Fellowship’s rigorous and immersive two-year in-residence training program includes unprecedented audition support designed to prepare Fellows to win auditions in professional American orchestras. Fellows receive a range of practical in-the-field experience, including in-depth mentorship, rehearsal, performance and mock audition opportunities with LACO; intensive individual instruction, performance experience, and arts leadership courses through USC Thornton; and immersive rehearsal, performance, mentoring and coaching opportunities with ICYOLA. Additionally, Fellows will receive training in entrepreneurship, professional development and pedagogy to ensure that they develop the skills and self-sufficiency to sustain their careers no matter how the music industry changes. Fellows also will form a string quartet and perform throughout Los Angeles representing all three institutions. In addition, Fellows earn a USC Graduate Certificate upon completion of the two-year program and receive a competitive compensation and benefits package, including housing and professional development funds to help cover the costs of taking professional orchestra auditions during and after the two-year program.
ICYOLA Founder/Executive Director/Conductor Charles Dickerson says, “We are honored to partner with LACO and USC to address the lack of diversity in American orchestras, and we are particularly grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its commitment to this issue as reflected by its tremendous financial support. Through our collaboration with our stellar partners, we hope to train young emerging musicians from our nation’s most underserved communities to be both excellent musicians and excellent citizens, and to help them to win jobs in the American orchestra industry.”
“Everyone at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is proud to join forces with ICYOLA and USC Thornton to launch this ground-breaking, hands-on fellowship that provides intensive guidance in the important nuances of the auditioning process and orchestral performance, a topic rarely addressed in this level or depth for aspiring musicians,” says LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison. “The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s visionary leadership and financial support will enable us to further erode the barriers of race, socioeconomic status and geography that can sometimes prevent performers and audiences from fully participating in the classical music field. While similar programs exist, none are as comprehensive, none are led by an organization from a community of color, as ICYOLA is, none are designed by such a diverse group of leaders and stakeholders, and none so thoroughly connect the pipeline from community to professional.”
Adds USC Thornton Dean Dr. Robert Cutietta, “USC has made diversity and equity key priorities for the university, and the Thornton School is honored to realize that commitment through such a rigorously designed and promising program. Training and performing with a variety of different musical groups and being mentored by top professional musicians active in Los Angeles – faculty who perform, compose, and teach – will give Fellows a better understanding of career options available to musicians, which is particularly important since many orchestra jobs are part-time, requiring artists to have multi-pronged careers.”
“By working together, these three forward-thinking, LA-based organizations are sure to make a great impact in their city and, ultimately, throughout the country,” said League of American Orchestras president and CEO Jesse Rosen. “As our recently released Forty Years of Fellowships study confirmed, orchestra fellowship programs can provide valuable benefits for both musicians from underrepresented communities and the organizations working with them.”
The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship sets a new standard as the first fellowship program to include a multi-directional mentorship approach in which Fellows receive mentorship from professional musicians focused on their career development, as well as serve as mentors to young musicians in ICYOLA and as community ambassadors throughout LA to help create future generations of musicians. Further, it is the first fellowship program to include entrepreneurial classes, professional development and pedagogical training to ensure the Fellows develop the skills and self-sufficiency to sustain their careers no matter how the music industry changes. Four individuals will be accepted to each cycle of the program – two violins, a viola and a cello. A team of administrators from each of the three participating organizations will manage the program.
With LACO they will gain invaluable experience performing both the standard repertoire and new music with a professional orchestra to boost career readiness. Specifically, Fellows will participate in rehearsals and performances on subscription concerts and other orchestral services several times per year. Fellows will receive further training in orchestral performance and mentorship from LACO musicians, both during and outside of rehearsals. Additional opportunities to engage with LACO administrative staff will be created to provide Fellows a further understanding of the organizational workings of an orchestra, its education activities, school programs and more. LACO will also schedule mock auditions to help Fellows prepare for the rigors of the audition process.
With ICYOLA – an orchestra that rehearses weekly in the heart of the African-American community – Fellows will serve as section leaders, mentors and coaches to ICYOLA members and through ICYOLA’s educational programs. Since education and community engagement are core elements of most American orchestras and experience in this field is particularly vital to emerging musicians,
the experience through ICYOLA will allow Fellows to create more well-rounded profiles as musicians while serving as a positive influence on young musicians throughout Los Angeles.
Fellows, who will comprise a string quartet to perform throughout Los Angeles, especially, in the underserved community of South LA, receive the opportunity to further develop their musical decision-making, communication, presentation and performance skills.
The Fellows will add yet another layer of experience as members of the USC Thornton Symphony, which rehearses up to three times per week and presents four concerts annually. They will engage in weekly lessons with distinguished faculty from the USC Thornton Strings department, chaired by Ralph Kirshbaum, receive chamber music coaching and participate in classes and other opportunities to round out their development, including access to the Arts Leadership program at USC. Fellows who complete the in-residence training fellowship will also be awarded a prestigious Graduate Certificate from the University of Southern California, having completed all of the course work and activities related to the school’s Graduate Certificate program.
Applications are due December 31, 2017. Information on The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship and how to apply will be available this fall at LAorchestrafellowship.org.
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO), ranked among the world’s top musical ensembles, marks its 50th anniversary in the 2017-18 season. Beloved by audiences and praised by critics, the Orchestra is known as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks as well as a champion of contemporary composers. Headquartered in the heart of the country’s cultural capital, LACO has been proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” (Public Radio International), “LA’s most unintimidating chamber music experience” (Los Angeles Magazine), “resplendent” (Los Angeles Times), and “one of the world’s great chamber orchestras” (KUSC Classical FM). LACO, which performs throughout greater Los Angeles, has garnered eight ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming.
The non-profit Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) transforms the lives and minds of young people in Inner City Los Angeles through high quality music and literacy education, preparing its members for advanced study and success in music and academics. It provides opportunities for Inner City youth to learn and perform music in the some of the world’s leading concert halls. Open to talented young people ages 10-35 who play or wish to play an orchestral instrument, ICYOLA offers two programs: the ICYOLA Orchestra Program, and the ICYOLA Academy. The ICYOLA Orchestra Program features three orchestras that are differentiated by skill level and age. The celebrated 131-member ICYOLA Orchestra presents a regular concert season each year that features both the standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary music that resounds within the community that ICYOLA serves. The Intermediate Orchestra serves approximately 50 young people between the ages of 12-17 who have developed a basic level of competence on their instruments. The Beginners Orchestra serves 101 youngsters ages 5-12 and features students who are just starting their musical journey. Through the ICYOLA Academy, the organization teaches music and literacy enhancement on the campuses of three Los Angeles Unified District Elementary Schools, and also offers music camps at various locations throughout Greater Los Angeles.
USC Thornton School of Music brings together a stellar faculty chosen from a broad spectrum of the music profession and musically gifted students from around the globe. Founded in 1884, and today the oldest continually operating cultural institution in Los Angeles, the Thornton School consistently ranks among the top one percent of the nation’s music schools and conservatories. Graduates of the school attain positions with major orchestras, ensembles, recording studios and music industry firms and perform on stages and in studios around the world. Blending the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the benefits of studying at a leading research university, the Thornton School offers students a thorough music education in a real-world context. With its faculty, students, events and work, the Thornton School is one of the most important cultural resources in Los Angeles.
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