We are the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), the largest majority African American orchestra in America. Founded in 2009, ICYOLA is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that transforms the lives and minds of young people in Inner City Los Angeles through high quality music education. It teaches inner city youth the great music of the world, and provides opportunities for them to perform that music in the most magnificent settings of our community. It prepares its members for advanced study and high caliber success in music and otherwise, and instills the ancillary benefits that music instruction provides: problem solving skills, critical thinking, self-reliance, self-confidence, self-discipline, and the crystallization and pursuit of meaningful purpose.


ICYOLA offers three programs: the ICYOLA Orchestra Program; the ICYOLA Academy; and the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship. Through the ICYOLA Orchestra Program, we present an annual Concert Season that features both the standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary music that resounds within the community that ICYOLA serves. Through our ICYOLA Academy, we teach students at Los Angeles Unified School District elementary schools how to play an instrument. Through the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, we train emerging professionals to take and win auditions with American orchestras.

ICYOLA is a member of the League of American Orchestras, and is a national leader in the effort to assure diversity in the arts.


We play throughout South Los Angeles’ church community and at venues like The Getty Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Staples Center, and the Microsoft Theater.


ICYOLA opened its 2018-2019 Season on November 4 with a standing-room only concert at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church that featured the orchestra performing Variations on a Theme by Haydn, by Johannes Brahms and Symphony No. 101 by Franz Joseph Haydn. The concert also featured the world premiere performance of the South Central String Quartet, a brand new ensemble that is comprised of the Fellows of the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship.* The quartet performed the first two movements of Shostakovich String Quartet No. 10, and Violinist Sydney Adedamola was also featured in ICYOLA’s premiere performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Invierno porteno.

December 15, 2018 // ICYOLA will present its annual Christmas Season Concert with the Chancel Choir of Rolling Hills United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 15 in the RHUMC sanctuary. The choir and orchestra will present Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi, Jesus! The Advent of the Messiah! by Mary McDonald, and John Rutter’s exciting arrangement of Joy to the World! Sopranos Jessie Tisdale and Jinian Austria and Alto Carol Wooten will be the featured soloists in the Vivaldi. Please call our office at 213.788.4260 or RHUMC at 310.377.6771 for tickets and further information. Please also visit the following link for additional information:  ICYOLA’s Christmas Season Concert

December 24, 2018 // ICYOLA is honored and happy to participate in the 59th Annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration. The FREE bash is Los Angeles’ largest multicultural holiday celebration which gives special recognition to the rich cultures of the County. Celebrate a diverse group of L.A.-based artists as they showcase their talent and artistry on The Music Center’s iconic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage on December 24th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. All ages are welcome to attend. See it at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or watch it on PBS SoCal & Stream it on pbssocal.org. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Patrons may come and go throughout the three-hour show. Please feel free to visit HolidayCelebration.org or our click here for additional information about this performance.

January 20, 2019 // ICYOLA will celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. in concert on Sunday, January 20 at 2 p.m. at Rolling Hills United Methodist Church. The concert will feature the choral and orchestral setting of Dr. King’s epic “I Have a Dream” speech, Roland Carter’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “We Shall Overcome,” and other music of the Movement. Please call our office at 213.788.4260 or RHUMC at 310.377.6771 for more information. Please also visit the following link for additional information:  ICYOLA’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert

January 21, 2019 // ICYOLA will perform as part of the California African American Museum (CAAM) Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, January 21st. The Celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. Our performance will take place between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Celebration is free to attend, however parking in Exposition Park is $12 (cash only). To RSVP for this event, please call 213.744.2024 or send an email to rsvp@caamuseum.org. You may also visit the following link for additional information:  CAAM Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

April 19, 2019 // ICYOLA returns to Rolling Hills United Methodist Church for its annual Easter Season Concert on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. with a presentation of Gabriel Faure’s beloved Requiem. Please call our office at 213.788.4260 for further information. Please also visit the following link for additional information:  ICYOLA’s Easter Season Concert

July 7, 2019 // ICYOLA will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, July 7 at 3 p.m. to present its 11th Annual Season Finale Concert. The concert will feature The Theme from Remember the Titans, Lyric for Strings by George Walker, Urban Legends – a concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, by Michael Abels and featuring the South Central String Quartet, and a Tribute to Aretha Franklin. Lyric for Strings will be presented at the orchestra’s annual tribute to young people who have lost their lives to gun violence. This is a ticketed concert. Please call our offices now at 213.788.4260 to reserve your tickets or to gain more information. Please also visit the following link for additional information:  ICYOLA’s 11th Annual Season Finale Concert

*ICYOLA is the lead partner in the Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, a program designed to address the dearth of musicians of color in American orchestras. Please click here for additional information about the Fellowship:  Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship

Play With Us

ICYOLA welcomes young musicians of all skill levels. There are no auditions; no tuition; no competition for seats; advanced players mentor less skilled players; mentor-artists rehearse and perform with us, accelerating the learning process for all; every player performs and plays what they can because being immersed in this way also promotes growth.

Young musicians interested in joining the orchestra are welcome to sit in on a rehearsal to learn more about us. Rehearsals take place on each Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles located at 5840 La Tijera Blvd. Please let us know you will be attending prior to rehearsal time by sending an email to info@icyola.org. Instruments should be brought along if possible.

Feel free to contact us to learn more about how you can become part of our orchestra.