ICYOLA Program

  • ICYOLA Orchestra

    The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) is the largest and most outstanding inner city orchestra in the United States.  We uplift the quality of life in Los Angeles through our mostly-free performances of the world's greatest music, and our members acquire skills that prepare them for life and careers in the American orchestra industry and beyond.

    The ICYOLA Orchestra, boast 131 young adult members aged 18 and above and 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, and that culminates each year with a Season Finale Concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    Our performances feature music composed by the great classical, romantic and contemporary masters like Beethoven, Mozart and Gershwin, and music popularized by contemporary artists like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and others.

  • Intermediate Orchestra

    The Intermediate Orchestra serves approximately 50 Teenagers between the ages of 12-17 who have developed a basic level of competence, and performs reductions and/or simplified versions of the standard orchestra repertoire.
  • Beginners Orchestra

    The Beginners Orchestra and serves 101 youngsters ages 5-12 and features students who are just starting their musical journey and who are apart of the ICYOLA Academy
  • ICYOLA Academy

    The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles opened the ICYOLA Academy on April 21, 2014 on the campus of the Virginia Road Elementary School. Inspired by President Obama's “My Brother's Keeper” initiative, and modeled after the California Endowment's “Sons and Brother's” Campaign, the Academy teaches skills to elementary aged youth that act as natural barriers against failure, personal devaluation, and even institutionalization.

    It operates as an intense, after-school instructional program in music and literacy. Participants learn how to play an instrument, develop critical reading comprehension and creative and analytical writing, oral speaking, and authentic discussion skills; and they develop the self-discipline, self-esteem and self-worth that are the natural by-products of excellent performance. ICYOLA opened its second Academy at Owen Knox Elementary School in October 2014, and its third Academy at Charles Barrett Elementary School in April 2015. Discussions have begun to expand to a fourth and fifth campus in the fall.

    You can help the Academy by providing instruments, funding an instructor, or both

  • ICYOLA Music Camps

    We offer our educational programs through the ICYOLA Academy. During the school year, the Academy offers intensive after-school instruction both in music and literacy on campuses of Los Angeles Unified School District elementary schools, and during summer, winter and spring breaks, the Academy conducts intensive music camps and workshops at local community sites

  • Accomplishments

    We regularly participate in significant community celebrations like the ceremonies marking the reopening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Los Angeles, receptions honoring dignitaries and celebrities like First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, and swearing-ins and town halls for local elected offcials. On the national scene, we recently presented a concert for the Annual Convention of the NAACP and a concert to celebrate the unveiling of the Memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington DC.
  • Taking The Lead

    We are in the forefront of national efforts to help the orchestra industry reflect the demographic of the United States and for orchestra halls to serve as meeting places for America's cross-cultural communities.
  • World Scene

    We are even active on the world scene. Among our initiatives is “Beethoven Alive in Africa!” — a collaboration with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra of Durban, South Africa for a 2020 festival on the African continent to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven's birth.



"ICYOLA Academy opened on April 21, 2014 on the campus
of the Virginia Road Elementary School. Brother's” Campaign
Inspired by President Obama's, “My Brother's Keeper” initiative,
and modeled after the California Endowment's “Sons."
ICYOLA Orchestra
ICYOLA Orchestra
ICYOLA Orchestra


The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) is a nonprofit organization that exists to transform the lives and minds of young people in inner city Los Angeles through high quality music education.

ICYOLA aspires to prepare its members for advanced study – musical and otherwise – and high caliber success.

ICYOLA was founded in 2009 by conductor Charles Dickerson to provide inner city youth from the various communities of Greater Los Angeles with the opportunity to learn the great music of the world, and to perform that music on the great stages of the world.

ICYOLA is composed of approximately 60 middle, high school and college students, primarily of African American descent. It is open to inner city youth ages 10-25 with a basic level of accomplishment on orchestral instruments.


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