To cultivate musical expression as a vehicle for personal development, and to bring to fruition the full musical and academic potential of young inner city residents of Los Angeles.
We are the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA),
the largest majority Black 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.
We teach inner-city youth the great music of the world, and provide opportunities for them to perform that music in the most magnificent settings of our community. We prepare our members for advanced study and high caliber success in music and otherwise. We instill 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.
Help us make a difference in the lives of young people! Your donation helps provide quality music instruction, as well as educational and community initiatives to the inner city youth of Los Angeles. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged and are tax deductible.
All ICYOLA performances are suspended due to COVID-19. Please follow our social media and check our website for information about future programs.
Our Guiding Principles
Accomplishment • Pride • Camaraderie • Confidence • Respect
“Provides inner city youth with the opportunity to learn and perform the great orchestral music of the world in the greatest settings of the world. It aspires to prepare its members for advanced study – musical and otherwise – and high caliber success for life.”
“For us to take 100 kids from our community to Disney Hall, and let them play in one of the most iconic places in the world where orchestra music is played…that does a lot for self pride and community pride”
“I’ve been a part of this orchestra and it has given me some great opportunities…I’ve been able to study with one of the best French horn players and play with world-class musicians.”
“The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles is the largest majority African American youth orchestra in the country.”
“My parents heard about it online. I’ve been here for five years. I’m now a concert master.”
“Learning about classical music teaches you about life. There is a rhythm in classical music that mirrors the rhythms of life.”
“It wasn’t something that happened overnight for us, it was a way to show the youth that orchestral music is a way to make a living too and that you don’t have to do the typical things.”
“This orchestra is extremely important for Black and Latinx children…because there are not that many organizations like this in their communities.”
“I think the way to promote diversity in classical music is to have an orchestra in the heart of the Black community and serve the people there.”
“ICYOLA is the official orchestra for California State University Dominguez Hills”
“ICYOLA, it not only felt like a family…it was really crucial to my development.”