Toyota Symphonies for Youth

March 2, 2011

If you want to take your children to a concert which is entertaining, spirited and educational, please bring your children to see the world-famous Los Angeles Philharmonic perform as part of the Toyota Symphony of Youth Series at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. Mishy and I had the pleasure of being part of the audience this Saturday where we witnessed Joshua Weilerstein conduct the L.A. Philharmonic, joined by legendary jazz pianist John Beasley and his band. They were talking about jaaaazzzzz. That’s how John Beasley told the audience to pronounce it – “With a little bit of funk. Jaaaazzzz.”

This concert series is geared for children aged 5-11 years old. Mishy is 3 years old and she was enthralled as were older members of the audience who attended with no children at all. They simply came for the desire of hearing great music and great music we heard! The performance was seamless. The musicians tuned their instruments, then there was a pause as the first violinest walked on stage. I love this procession. The audience members clapped and then Joshua or Josh, as he was referred to during the concert, walked on stage to more claps and immediately the philharmonic played Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, Finale. My soul was in bliss. As Josh Weilerstein introduced himself, the audience member heard some scatting growing increasingly louder as John Beasley walked on stage and was happily introduced.

John Beasley entertainingly talked about jazz – and then his band members came on stage to play. Different sections of music was played in jazz style and then in classical style and vice versa. It was fascinating to hear the same piece of music played in different styles. Mishy asked if it was the same piece or different, if it was being played by the same instruments or different, and what instrument was being played. This was music to my ears because I thought – yes, she gets it!  She’s interested and intrigued.

The concert ended with two versions of Itsy Bitsy Spider – and this included audience participation. We were to sing the lyrics as John Beasley’s band played. Mishy sang with gusto and clapped with the same excitement once the concert was sadly over.

Every parent deserves to take their children to see the Toyota Symphony of Youth concerts – so they can hear world class music in a beautiful space while their children are wonderfully exposed to the power of music. Next year, as soon as tickets are available, we are subscribing to all of the concerts in this series.


The last concert for this season is on April 23rd and 30th, 2011 at 11AM. It is: The Hero Composer, conducted by David Afkham, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. One hour prior to each concert, there are various art, music, and dance activities in the lobby of the Music Center.

(We were given press tickets to attend the concert.)

3 Responses to “Toyota Symphonies for Youth”

  1. baba Says:

    wish i was there.

  2. I know this was an outstanding event. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to attend as Sir John Beasley is one of the most talented musicians of the 21st Century, and my personal favorite pianist (aside from Herbie of coarse). I love the L.A. Phil and David Afkham. Any time you hear that Mr. Beasley is playing, don’t walk, RUN to hear him. Thanks for the post!!!

  3. Tamar Says:

    I completely agree that the Toyota Symphony for the Youth is a must. My five year old was so excited to listen to Dvorak and John Beasley. My son still says, ” jaaaaaazzzz.” These concerts are outstanding for audiences of any age. WHat a wonderful way to introduce art and music to our children,especially in this age of Budget Cuts.

    I heard Bill T. Jones, a gifted dancer say recently that art and music are part of making a person and his/her education whole. I could not agree with him more. I will never forget watching him dance to Beethoven. The audience was wiping their tears away after his superb performance.

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