Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

the future of culture

Encino, CA   |

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Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

EIN: 26-4703063


The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra contributes to our communities and advances the future of culture by developing and nurturing a passion for music in young musicians that lasts a lifetime through the study and performance of classical and contemporary orchestral music.

Ruling year info


Founder and Artistic Director

Russell Steinberg

Executive Director

Joyce LaBriola

Main address

4924 Balboa Blvd. #409

Encino, CA 91316 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts education

Orchestral music

Population served info

Children and youth



NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Since the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, many schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District and surrounding districts have systematically trimmed arts-rich curricula from the school day. Because studies from the National Endowment of the Arts and others show that arts-rich education promotes higher grade point averages, better standardized test scores, and lower dropout rates, these cuts have an adverse impact on children. The impact is strongly felt among talented student-musicians who have the skill and ability to play music at the highest levels, but no access to consistent, high-quality music education. LAYO fills the gap for students who either have no music education available to them in their schools or who wish to augment their current musical opportunities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra music education program

The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra (LAYO) is a creative music education environment where student musicians, ages 8-18, from throughout the greater Los Angeles and beyond come together to rehearse and perform classical symphonic masterworks and contemporary music. LAYO attracts both students headed to conservatories and college music programs, as well as students who love music but aspire to other careers.

LAYO holds auditions three times a year, in May and August for the fall semester and January for the spring semester. The auditions are open to any student who has taken private lessons on their instrument for at least two years. For the audition, students are required to learn an orchestral excerpt, play major and minor scales and sight read during the audition. LAYO faculty coaches and the conductor form the adjudication panel and complete audition evaluations for each student. To accommodate different playing levels, LAYO includes the Ruth Borun Concert Orchestra for intermediate players and the Symphony Orchestra for advanced players. The Ruth Borun Concert Orchestra performs quality arrangements of classical and contemporary music, whereas the Symphony Orchestra performs standard and contemporary repertoire much like professional orchestras. Once accepted into either orchestra, students attend ten weekly Sunday rehearsals each semester, which consist of 90 minute sectional rehearsals with their respective LAYO faculty coach and 90 minute full orchestra rehearsals led by Russell Steinberg, Founder and Artistic Director. The typical fall semester runs from mid- August to late November and the spring semester runs from early January through mid-April.

Students learn repertoire ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky, as well as 21st century compositions, and the Artistic Director programs the music for each semester. At the end of each semester, both the Concert Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra perform two concerts in November and two concerts in April at professional concert venues: UCLA Schoenberg Hall and Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. LAYO also offers students additional performance opportunities each year which have included a performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall; free outdoor community concert at Encino Park; and international performance tours to Italy, Vienna and Prague. Additionally, LAYO hosts a chamber music party each semester, which provides students and parents the opportunity to learn about and play chamber music and socialize with fellow LAYO students and parents.

B. Program Goals and Outcomes
Above all, LAYO seeks to develop a passion for music that lasts a lifetime by building a community of students dedicated to the study of classical and contemporary music that advances the future of culture. To that end, over the course of the grant period, it is expected that LAYO students will achieve the following outcomes:
• Increase music literacy, technical skill and proficiency as an individual player and within a larger ensemble
• Perform a diverse range of classical and contemporary repertoire with artistic expression appropriate to historical and cultural context
• Respond in real time to an orchestral ensemble’s uniform sense of rhythm, tempo, and artistic expression, and respond to and follow conducting gestures
• Evaluate and analyze one’s own individual performance for proficiency, musicianship, and artistic expression as well as that of the ensemble or section
• Build and maintain friendships with peers across the city, and develop social skills such as increased self-efficacy, resilience, and interpersonal communication

C. Evaluation of LAYO’s Effectiveness
LAYO is evaluated using a combination of ongoing teacher observation, student and parent feedback, and teacher assessment of seating placement auditions. Evaluative surveys are periodically distributed to parents and indicate that parents and students are highly satisfied with their experience in LAYO. Past indicators of success which LAYO expects to continue over the grant period include:
• LAYO students report that their participation is an asset on college applications.
• LAYO alumni have gone on to attend prestigious institutions including Juilliard, the New England Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, UCLA, USC and the Royal Academy of Music.
• LAYO ensembles are continually invited to perform at prestigious venues, participate in festivals and benefits and premiere new music.
• Parents report that LAYO students form friendships with students from beyond their local neighborhoods, and that LAYO is a worthwhile and challenging environment for their students.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

LAYO provides a creative environment where young musicians from throughout the greater Los Angeles area and a wide variety of social, cultural, and economic backgrounds come together at weekly Sunday rehearsals to study and perform classical symphonic masterworks and contemporary music. These sessions over time build skills necessary for deep learning: discipline, patience, tools for analysis, historical context, and above all, a greater attention span. Whether or not students pursue a musical career, their participation in LAYO develops a deep intellectual and emotional understanding of music that will encourage them to listen to classical music, attend concerts, support arts organizations and give back to the community throughout their lives. Ample evidence of this effect can be seen through the accomplishments of LAYO alumni, who maintain strong connections with the organization. A few examples include one of LAYO’s earliest students, Niv Ashkenazi, a concert violinist and the first alum to serve on the LAYO Board; violinist Erin Kelly who is a top designer for NIKE in New York; cellist Pierre Derycz who is the Orchestra Manager for the Young Musician’s Foundation Orchestra in Los Angeles; and flutist Jonathan Zuckerman who is now a pathologist at UCLA Medical Center. All these former students are giving back to the community and society in powerful ways.

Founder and Artistic Director Russell Steinberg is an award-winning composer and concert lecturer for the Los Angeles Philharmonic who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. LAYO’s faculty of professional coaches and administrative staff are all accomplished musicians with extensive teaching and performing experience, all holding degrees from highly regarded universities. A unique quality of LAYO is that it emphasizes a mentoring model for coaches to work with students at every rehearsal, rather than the norm of other youth orchestras who use coaches occasionally. The weekly mentorship and instruction in both sectional and tutti rehearsals guides students to achieve proficiency and confidence playing the music. Before each rehearsal, the Orchestra Manager distributes notes from the Artistic Director to the faculty coaches as well as the members of each orchestra. The Artistic Director will comment on the previous rehearsal and give instruction on specific elements for students to focus on during the week to be prepared for the upcoming rehearsal. (i.e. remember to pay close attention to dynamics—every moment is either getting louder or softer by degrees but never static). Coaches in turn will plan their own sectionals based on these notes as well as the progress made in the previous sectional rehearsal. Strategic and financial planning are spearheaded by Executive Director Laura Kay Swanson to fulfill the short and long-terms goals of the organization.

From its inception, LAYO has drawn students from a surprisingly wide geographic area over Los Angeles County, with high concentrations of students from the Westside of LA, but also students from the Northeast in Glendale and Pasadena, South Los Angeles, and Northwest to Conejo Valley and Thousand Oaks. LAYO students currently represent 60 different public and private schools (as well as some students who are home schooled). These students would probably not have the opportunity to meet because of distance as well as economic and cultural diversity, but LAYO provides this opportunity to young musicians, leading to lifelong friendships that are built on a shared love of music, learning and a natural intellectual curiosity for many other subjects. LAYO recruits students by offering free clinics at their schools, through work of mouth and recommendations of current and former students and their parents, recommendations by private teachers of eligible students and by offering free tickets to LAYO concerts to all interested students. LAYO offers tuition assistance to all needy students who can pass an audition and be accepted into the orchestra.

In addition to three full time staff members, LAYO employs eight faculty coaches who provide instruction on individual instruments in weekly sectional rehearsals. The faculty coaches are not only professional working musicians with years of teaching experience, but they are alos seasoned performers and studio musicians who work with major ensembles and artists.

The orchestra was formed in 1999 on a semester grant from the Jewish Community Foundation, administered by Noreen Green and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. The orchestra was based at Milken Community High School of the Stephen Wise Temple and conducted by Russell Steinberg, a composer recently appointed Director of Music for the Stephen Wise Schools. Approximately thirty students enrolled in the orchestra that was called the Los Angeles Jewish Youth Orchestra. Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Borun, through the Anna and Harry Borun Foundation, became the first major donors for the newly named Stephen Wise Youth Orchestra. In 2003, the orchestra membership grew beyond Jewish and local schools to include over 60 students from fifty Los Angeles area schools, both public and private. To reflect this growing diversity, Steinberg renamed the orchestra the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra. The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra officially became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2008, and today, LAYO serves over 120 students each season who rehearse at the Encino Community Center in two leveled ensembles and perform throughout the Los Angeles region and beyond. Since its inception, LAYO has developed a variety of unique performance opportunities for its students in partnership with some of the most prestigious orchestras and venues in the world.

Performance highlights include: In 2003, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra began a partnership with Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, making it possible for students to attend working LACO rehearsals. In 2007, the Los Angeles Philharmonic selected the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra as a Partner Orchestra, awarding the honor of performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall in November 2007. In 2010, LAYO spearheaded a Youth Orchestra Day performance in partnership with three area youth orchestras and received official recognition from the Mayor of Pasadena and the Los Angeles City Council. In 2013, LAYO traveled to New York City and performed at the legendary Carnegie Hall. This historic event marked the orchestra’s first national tour. In July 2015, LAYO embarked on its first international tour to Europe, performing in venues such as at the MuTH and Hadynsaal in Austria, and Dvořák Hall in Prague. In June 2017, LAYO completed its second international tour, traveling throughout Italy and performing at the Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona, Terme Tettuccio in Montecatini and Sant’Agnese in Rome. In 2019, LAYO received a $500,000 gift from the Anna and Harry Borun Foundation to rename the Concert Orchestra as the Ruth Borun Concert Orchestra and in June will perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the West Coast Youth Orchestra Festival.


Los Angeles Youth Orchestra
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 34.66 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Los Angeles Youth Orchestra’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$36,302 $57,454 $122,208 $90,933 -$324,115
As % of expenses -10.7% 16.6% 41.2% 28.9% -84.9%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$36,302 $57,454 $122,208 $90,933 -$324,115
As % of expenses -10.7% 16.6% 41.2% 28.9% -84.9%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $273,692 $404,249 $418,882 $366,981 $406,677
Total revenue, % change over prior year -48.4% 47.7% 3.6% -12.4% 10.8%
Program services revenue 51.8% 40.3% 26.2% 35.1% 38.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 48.2% 59.7% 73.8% 64.9% 51.3%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 9.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $338,771 $346,796 $296,674 $314,769 $381,619
Total expenses, % change over prior year -32.4% 2.4% -14.5% 6.1% 21.2%
Personnel 63.4% 57.4% 67.2% 64.9% 51.5%
Professional fees 18.6% 21.3% 16.0% 25.5% 22.1%
Occupancy 7.4% 10.6% 6.8% -0.4% 10.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 10.7% 10.7% 9.9% 10.0% 16.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $338,771 $346,796 $296,674 $314,769 $381,619
One month of savings $28,231 $28,900 $24,723 $26,231 $31,802
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $367,002 $375,696 $321,397 $341,000 $413,421

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 2.7 4.1 11.2 13.9 0.0
Months of cash and investments 2.7 4.1 11.2 13.9 0.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 1.9 3.8 9.4 12.4 0.0
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $76,138 $119,098 $276,462 $363,360 $0
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 29.7% 6.8% 15.7% 12.0% 0.0%
Unrestricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $53,520 $110,974 $233,182 $324,115 $0

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Founder and Artistic Director

Russell Steinberg

Russell Steinberg composes concert music described as “freshly lyrical, pulsating, edgy, infectious” and “shimmering with great beauty and energy.” His orchestra tone poem Cosmic Dust was featured in Science News Magazine for the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope and premiered by three orchestras— the New West Symphony, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, and the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra. His Daniel Pearl Foundation commission Stories From My Favorite Planet honoring slain Wall St. Journalist continues to receive performances. The Bay Atlantic Symphony programs his Hanukkah fantasy Lights On! annually for its holiday programs. Recent premieres include his piano trio Paleface inspired and accompanied with video projection of paintings by New York “psychological pop” artist Jerry Kearns, his Horn Trio with Sierra Ensemble, and Rucksack, a monodrama for mezzo soprano.

Executive Director

Joyce LaBriola

Joyce LaBriola is an arts advocate, community builder, and experienced leader, joining Los Angeles Youth Orchestra from 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. Joyce's career spans two decades with leadership roles in the sports industry (the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, the CFL's Edmonton Elks, the ECHL's Phoenix RoadRunners, and the ECHL League Office), the arts world (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Winspear Centre for Music, 18th Street Arts Centre, and the Citadel Theatre), and the non-profit sector (HIV Edmonton, Unusual Suspects Theatre Company). Joyce founded the Artists for Life Foundation of Alberta in 2009, a volunteer-run non-profit organization with the mission of advocating for those affected by HIV/AIDS, those who identify as LGBTQIA2S+, and marginalized, vulnerable and at-risk populations while celebrating the philanthropic spirit of the arts. She was selected as one of Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” .

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Los Angeles Youth Orchestra

Board of directors
as of 08/08/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Britt Morris

Kung Fu Factory

Term: 2020 - 2022

Andrew Katz

Certified Public Accountant

Britt Morris

Particle City

Ravi Dave

UCLA School of Medicine

Shahira Badran


Kirit Sarvaiya

CEO/ Malabar Hill Ventures

Bita Adham-Cetinyan

Partner, Tennenhouse, Minassian and Adham

Wendey Stanzler

TV and Film Director

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/2/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data