Gustavo Dudamel & Harmony Project's Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) To Perform At Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show

LOS ANGELES, January 28, 2016 - Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), led by LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, will perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show on Sunday, February 7 on CBS.

The show will echo elements of the NFL's On the Fifty campaign – honoring the past, recognizing the present and looking ahead to the next 50 years. Global superstars and winners of seven Grammy Awards Coldplay will perform, among other acts.

“This is a wonderful honor and an extraordinary showcase for YOLA, as well as a tribute to youth orchestras worldwide,” said Dudamel. “When we play, it will be for the youth of the world so they can be inspired to create both a better life for themselves and a better future.”

Dudamel will be joined on the stage by students from the program’s YOLA at EXPO site in South L.A., a partnership of the LA Phil, Harmony Project, and the EXPO Center (a Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility).

Gustavo Dudamel is defined by his untiring advocacy for access to music for all. Through YOLA, conceived by Dudamel and inspired by Venezuela’s pioneering El Sistema, the LA Phil and its community partners provide free instruments, intensive music training, and academic support to more than 700 students from underserved neighborhoods, empowering them to become vital citizens, leaders, and agents of change.

The Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show is the most watched musical event of the year. More than 118.5 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year’s show, marking the most-watched Halftime Show ever.  The Super Bowl and Halftime Show will be broadcast worldwide from Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay area. 

The Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show is an NFL Network Production and will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and directed by Hamish Hamilton. For more information about Super Bowl 50, visit SuperBowl.com or follow #SB50.

Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA)
Since it was established in Fall of 2007, YOLA has grown to serve 700 students, ages 6-18, in South L.A., the Rampart District and East L.A. YOLA partners share costs and program management responsibilities. The YOLA initiative currently consists of three programs: YOLA at EXPO, YOLA at HOLA, and YOLA at LACHSA.

Part of Exposition Park in South L.A., YOLA at EXPO has grown to include three orchestras, mentorship, group lessons, chamber music, and parent ensembles. The program serves hundreds of students who attend four days each week. In addition, students perform annually at Walt Disney Concert Hall and have appeared multiple times on the iconic stage of the Hollywood Bowl. YOLA at EXPO is a partnership of the LA Phil, Harmony Project, and EXPO Center, a City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks facility.

YOLA at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), located in the Rampart District, serves hundreds of students with intensive after-school orchestral instruction five days a week. Classes include music creativity, singing and solfège, ensemble rehearsals, and academic tutoring daily. This holistic approach fosters a sense of community and provides the students with the opportunity to take advantage of HOLA’s exceptional programs and resources. YOLA at HOLA is a partnership between the LA Phil and Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).

YOLA at LACHSA engages 140 students, ages 8-11. High school students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts act as mentors to their younger YOLA counterparts. YOLA at LACHSA is a partnership between the LA Phil and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

Gustavo Dudamel
While his commitment to the LA Phil and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela account for the major portion of his yearly schedule, Dudamel also guest conducts with some of the world’s greatest musical institutions, including the Vienna Philharmonic, which he returns to lead in Vienna and on tour in 2016 and which he has been invited to conduct in the globally televised 2017 Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Day Concert. This season, opera features prominently in his schedule, notably his April 2016 Vienna State Opera debut conducting a new production of Turandot.

Now in his seventh season as Music & Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel’s contract has been extended through the 2021-2022 season.  Under his leadership the Los Angeles Philharmonic has expanded its diversified outreach through many notable projects, including Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by Venezuela’s widely successful El Sistema.  With YOLA, Gustavo brings music to children in the underserved communities of Los Angeles, and also serves as an inspiration for similar efforts throughout the U.S. and in Europe.

As Music Director, his 17th season, of the entire El Sistema project in Venezuela, he continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela as well as on tour. A Deutsche Grammophon artist since 2005, Grammy winner Gustavo Dudamel has numerous recordings on the label, as well as many video/DVD releases that capture the excitement of significant moments of his musical life.

In addition to his orchestral duties, Dudamel conducted the opening and closing credit scores for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Dudamel was also on a recent episode of Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” has appeared on “Sesame Street” and has been profiled twice on “60 Minutes.”



“I Am An Artist. I Am A Leader. I Am College Bound.”

We all have our own influences and identities – we are parents, we are students, we are teachers, and we are members of a community. We’re unique individuals, but we all share a common commitment to our children.

Harmony Project students also have complex identities, yet they share a common goal as well. Our students wish to create better lives for themselves and their communities by working together on creative projects, by making their education a priority, by enacting positive change in their environments through leadership, creativity, and empathy.

Their journey begins with music. Music teaches kids that with focus and perseverance, they can tackle difficult problems (Have you learned to play an instrument? It’s tough!). Music teaches children that their creative ideas matter and that together they can create beautiful things. With the support and guidance of caring adults and role models, we’re confident they will succeed in music and in their future career.

Your gift to Harmony Project is an investment in the creative potential of Los Angeles.
Donate today, and change the lives of children across our city.
Thank you.

Donate Now at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Melanie, age 17: “Don’t give up — practice, practice, practice!”

Whether she’s playing music, soccer, or studying, Melanie’s advice is the same: “don’t give up — practice, practice, practice! Even when it seems hard or you don’t wanna do it anymore, in the long run it will pay off.”
“Harmony Project has helped me be independent,” she says, “it creates the feeling like a family so you have support coming from all sides and I really like that atmosphere.”

Melanie, age 17, is a senior in High School and is on her way to college. According to her, the eight years she spent at Harmony Project helped her develop as a person and make her own choices about her education.

She has applied to UCSD, UC Irvine, UC Davis, Northwestern University, Boston University, USC, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA.

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Melanie with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Yelena, age 16: “I can express myself much better with music than with words”

Yelena, age 16, has learned to turn her ideas into reality. She’s been studying violin at Harmony Project for six years, and has recently begun to compose music.

Learning to compose came naturally, since she was already used to improvising on her violin. “My teachers at Harmony Project have helped me put my thoughts and feelings on paper — I can express myself much better with music than with words.” Yelena has worked hard to develop her musicianship, and Harmony Project is thrilled to have helped jumpstart her musical life — she told us, “I used to dream that I would wake up on Christmas morning and find a violin waiting for me under the tree.”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Yelena with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Darion, age 15: ”Music is the essential gateway through the traditional barriers of thought”

Darion’s philosophy of music and mindfulness is wise beyond his 15 years. He describes the piano as “a utopia in which all control is yours and your mind is the limit to what can be done.”

His grandmother plays the piano as well, and they often often play songs together and have great conversations on the complexity of the piano and music in general. His advice to new musicians is that “perfection comes with practice, and practice can only come with patience.”

Darion knows how to attend to both the technical and the mental side of music — “before concerts I stop for a moment and put myself in a serene mindstate to really make sure when i am performing I am affecting the audience as much as I can.”

He’s serious about his craft and is confident in his future. “My favorite thing about Harmony Project is that it’s a body of musical geniuses in the making. Harmony Project is the place to be if you are looking to live and grow in the world of music.”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Darion with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Patricia, 14: “I was happy to help my fellow violinists when they needed it”

Patricia, age 14, is a violinist and Peer Mentor. When she was six years old, her eight-year-old brother took it upon himself to teach her violin. Ever since, she’s dedicated herself to giving back.

Patricia has been student body president at her school for the past two years, and currently serves as principal second violin in the Harmony Project Orchestra. “I was happy to step into the leadership role, to be able to help my fellow violinists when they needed it. It felt really good!”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Patricia with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Saul, 13: “As soon as you start playing you can’t stop!”

Saul, age 13, is a snare drum player and percussion section leader. He also helps teach younger students — in fact, his whole family always pitches in at concerts and events.
For Saul, it’s all about rhythm. When he listens to music, he focuses on the background and the beat instead of the words, and thinks the coolest thing about music is “making your own rhymes and rhythms”. According to Saul, it doesn’t get much more fun than playing drums. “As soon as you start playing you can’t stop!”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Saul with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Ashley, 12: “In five years I’ll be focused on my academics, but I will still be playing the flute.”

Ashley, age 12, was first inspired to learn the flute when she saw a video on YouTube of a boy and his grandfather playing ‘Danny Boy’. She thought, “playing the flute looks great, so how about I play that?” She predicts that as time passes, her school work will become more and more important to her, but plans to continue to study the flute. “I’ll probably be in my school band, playing better than everyone else,” she jokes. We think she might be right!

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Ashley with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Nicholas, age 11: ”Music is a language that can change emotions and make people feel better”

Nicholas, age 11, knows how to use the power of music to help others. He comes from a musical family — “my dad plays the French horn, my uncle is a conductor and my brother plays the trumpet. I like to play to my with family because they really like to hear my playing. I feel like music is like a different language that can change emotions, and make people feel better.”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Nicholas with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday



Ethan, Age 10: “Focus. Don’t think about anything else but the music”

In his own words, Ethan (age 10) decided to learn cello “because all other kids were choosing the violin and I wanted something different”. He likes it “because you can play really low and also really high notes”. His sister is also in Harmony Project. They don’t always get along, but for Christmas they played together and made a video as a gift for their grandparents. His tip for someone starting to learn music? “Focus. Don’t think about anything else but the music”

We’re spotlighting children as they grow up in Harmony Project, from age 6 through high school graduation, as a special ‪#‎GivingTuesday‬ feature.

Show your support for Ethan with a donation at www.harmony-project.org/givingtuesday