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L.A. Orchestra Fellowship Renews Its Mission

September 9, 2020

The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship is expanding with its incoming class of musicians. The new fellows will spend three years in the program, extended from two on account of the coronavirus pandemic. And a horn player is joining the ranks, the first wind instrumentalist named to the Fellowship since its founding in 2018.

Launched two years ago, in response to a League of American Orchestras report that cited the lack of racial diversity in the country’s orchestras, the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship offers a postgraduate course of study for musicians representing underserved communities in American classical music. Three of Southern California’s leading classical-music institutions — the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the USC Thornton School of Music — oversee the program.

This month, the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship welcomes its next class of musicians: violists Wilfred Farquharson and Jay Julio Laureta, cellist Myles Yeazell, and horn player Malik Taylor. All graduates of top music schools in the country, they will be closely involved with the program’s three partner institutions.

At USC Thornton, the fellows will study in the school’s Graduate Certificate Program. LA Chamber Orchestra musicians will serve as mentors and, fate of future seasons pending, the orchestra might represent a major performance opportunity. With ICYOLA, the fellows will get the chance to be on the other side of the equation, mentoring youth-orchestra students.

Unique to the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship, among similar diversity-minded initiatives across the country, is the major part that ICYOLA plays. The country’s largest African American-majority youth orchestra, ICYOLA provides not only teaching and performance opportunities for fellows but an essential community connection. And this year, things are coming full circle: Taylor, the Fellowship’s first French horn player, is a Los Angeles native and longtime ICYOLA member.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].

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