L.A. Phil music director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the Sibelius Academy Symphony Orchestra tonight in Magnus Lindberg’s Chorale, Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (with soloist and Academy student Juho Pohjonen) and Sibelius’s Lemmink‹inen Suite, a program included in the Philharmonic’s current “Sibelius Unbound” festival.
The festival is part of LAPA’s larger Young Musicians Initiative, which provides music education programs for young local musicians. The effort is inspired by Venezuela’s remarkable orchestral training program, known as “El Sistema,” which produced the L.A. Phil’s music director-designate, Gustavo Dudamel.
Dudamel will conduct the Sim‹n Bol‹var Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (SBYOV) on November 1 in a program featuring Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The following week, the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra under Charles Dutoit performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (with soloist Martha Argerich and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique; the concert is also the first stop of its eighth world tour.
The International Youth Orchestra Festival will also engage SBYOV musicians in community concerts; students from Finland and Los Angeles’s Colburn School will perform as well. Esa-Pekka Salonen and mentor Jorma Panula will lead a master class for young conductors at the Colburn School.
At a festival symposium on October 29, details of a planned Youth Orchestra L.A. will be announced. Funded initially by the L.A. Phil, YOLA’s collaborators include the Harmony Project, a music outreach program for low-income children, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“What Los Angeles [Philharmonic] plans to do is unique,” Polly Kahn, vice president of learning and leadership development at the American Symphony Orchestra League, told the Los Angeles Times . “I’m not aware of another orchestra that is partnering with so many organizations or that has the ambition to actually create orchestras.”
The International Youth Orchestra Festival ends on November 11 with a full day of free performances by Los Angeles-area youth orchestras making their debut performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall.