A new plan, new vision for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – Chad Smith, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, made an announcement on behalf of the Board of Directors and Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the appointment of Camille Delaney-McNeil as the Director of its new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood.

The Frank Gehry-designed Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood will open in August 2021 and welcome its first class of local Inglewood students this fall.

Recruited through an extensive national search, Delaney-McNeil comes to the Los Angeles Philharmonic from OrchKids, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program where she held the position of Director of Programs.

Reporting to Elsje Kibler-Vermaas, Vice President, Learning, Delaney-McNeil will be responsible for developing the long-term vision for the Center and YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), and the venue facility operations of the new Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood, California. Delaney-McNeil will assume her position on June 28, 2021.

The Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood (BYC), the second Los Angeles Philharmonic building by Gehry, represents a milestone in the evolution of the now 14-year-old YOLA program that was created by Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.

The project emerged out of a close collaboration between the City of Inglewood, Gehry, and Dudamel. The BYC is the first dedicated space for the YOLA program and will be the home of a new fifth YOLA site, drawing students from Inglewood and environs. Its purpose-built design will significantly enhance the LA Phil’s learning programs by providing a space where YOLA musicians from dispersed program sites can work together.

The BYC also provides the program with a performance space and will be equipped to support a variety of distanced learning and professional development opportunities for local and international students, educators, and administrators.

The mission of YOLA and the BYC is to help build a sense of belonging and bridge communities and cultures. The BYC will support all existing YOLA programs located in South LA, the Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East LA, as well as the YOLA National Symposium and Festival.

During its first year of operation, the LA Phil will be engaging with various constituencies within the Inglewood community to begin to plan the long-term vision for the Center as a creative laboratory, learning hub, community center, and a lively, welcoming place for all.

Chad Smith said, “Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and everything that it represents is at the center of the LA Phil’s vision for the future, and we are thrilled to welcome Camille Delaney-McNeil as our first director of the Beckmen YOLA Center. Camille’s commitment to connecting young minds with classical music, her dedication to social change and her experience in creating spaces in which communities can thrive makes her the ideal leader for our first dedicated space for YOLA. It is with deep thanks to the incredible generosity of Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen and a visionary community of donors that we are able to create this new position and to welcome the first class of students to the Beckmen YOLA Center this fall.”

Gustavo Dudamel said, “Now more than ever, arts institutions must be a part of the communities that surround them. It is only through that connection and mutual understanding that we will be able to create meaningful, sustainable change and to truly come together in our shared mission of providing youth with access to music and education. Camille has a strong skillset and unparalleled experience that she is bringing to share with us in Los Angeles, and I cannot wait to work with her and our entire YOLA family as we enter this exciting new chapter in Inglewood.”

Camille Delaney McNeil said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be embarking on this journey and, particularly, for the opportunity YOLA has to serve the community and youth of Inglewood. Representation is so vital and is the key to any successful venture of this nature. In welcoming and making space for students from Inglewood, we are expanding and elevating their important voices and the voices within our youth community.”

Camille Delaney-McNeil is a fierce advocate for social change through music as well as a classically trained singer and flutist. After receiving her Bachelor of Music from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Music from the Peabody Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Camille began her journey of advocating for youth in music with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids program.

While there, she held the position of Director of Programs, serving close to 2,000 Baltimore City students. In addition to her many contributions to the artistic and strategic development of OrchKids, she also curated and created the OrchKids Green Festival to celebrate and spotlight West Baltimore as a cultural hub for young musicians as well as coordinating a large-scale neighborhood beautification project for three successive years.

Throughout her career, Camille has been the recipient of many awards, including the 2017 Leading Women Award, from the Daily Record, an honor given to 50 women who are 40 years of age or younger for accomplishments made thus far in their careers, as well as being selected for the inaugural cohort of the SphinxLEAD program with the Sphinx Organization.

SphinxLEAD is a two-year leadership development program established to empower the next generation of arts executives and to challenge them to envision how their ideas can effect positive change in the field.

Camille currently sits on the Board of El Sistema USA and is frequently engaged for panel discussions, presentations and workshops on DEI, youth access in music education and dismantling social justice barriers and equity issues in the classical music field. She is also regularly sought after for her leadership in advocacy for social change through music.

Featured Image: Camille Delaney-McNeil. Courtesy photo


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