Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic Orchestra
Jr. Philharmonic Orchestra of California is one of the oldest and most distinctive, young people's symphony orchestras in the United States. It was founded in Los Angeles, California on January 22, 1937 by its conductor, Dr. Ernst Katz. The Jr. Philharmonic enjoys the distinction of being the only orchestra in the world with its original conductor on the podium for over 69 years. The Jr. Philharmonic is a non commercial venture. It is managed by Gary S. Greene, Katz's nephew and run by Greene's siblings.
Motto and mission
Dr. Katz founded his youth orchestra in East Los Angeles, and since then has continued to spread his philosophy and motto, “Give Youth A Chance To Be Heard,” to more than 70,000 young people.
69th Anniversary and the Mayor's "Good Luck Candle"
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lit a piece of Los Angeles’ history at the Jr. Phil’s 69th Anniversary Concert Spectacular on April 26, 2006 when he lit the orchestra’s “Mayor’s Good Luck Candle,” presented to founder-conductor Ernst Katz and his young people’s orchestra by the citizens of Olvera Street in 1947. First lit by Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowren at the orchestra’s 10th Anniversary, the candle symbolizes the important connection between the city of Los Angeles and youth in music as fostered by Katz.
The Jr. Phil’s 70th anniversary culminates with a Platinum Concert Spectacular on June 10, 2007 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The sponsor was Smith Barney. The concert highlights the Jr. Philharmonic Orchestra with myriad composers, musicians, celebrities plus an all alumni orchestra.
The LA Junior Philharmonic celebrated its 75th Anniversary on June 6, 2012.
Celebrity and Composer participation
Over the years a wide array of famous celebrities and iconic composers of both film and stage have participated in the Jr. Phil's gala events including: Meredith Willson, Richard Pryor, Tom Hatton, Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman and the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael "Flea" Balzary (who is also an alum of the orchestra) to name only a few.