The American Youth Symphony Celebrates a 52nd Concert Season of "Firsts"

2016/17 marks the inaugural season of Maestro Carlos Izcaray as Music Director of AYS, in a year featuring a live-to-screen music and film performance, an NEA-sponsored video game concert, a guest appearance by a rock n' roll legend, a performance in collaboration with local dancers, and iconic masterworks by Mahler, Stravinsky, Mozart and more!

American Youth Symphony 2016-17 Season

​​The American Youth Symphony and newly appointed Music Director Carlos Izcaray have prepared a unique and varied program for the organization's 52nd season. Among other highlights, AYS musicians will bring to life Alan Silvestri’s propulsive score for Back to the Future, played live-to-picture; pair suites from award winning  video game scores with classic masterworks in a concert sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts; perform Stravinsky's Rite of Spring back-to-back with original works by Esa-Pekka Salonen and electric guitar legend Steve Vai at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and present the original ballet version of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring in partnership with a local dance troupe.  Reservations are now open for all Fall concerts. Season dates and details below:

Reserve complimentary tickets online ( or by phone (310.470.2332) today!

"The finest youth symphony on earth!"

Jim Svejda, KUSC

On Sunday, October 16 at 5pm in UCLA’s renowned Royce Hall, the American Youth Symphony inaugurates its 2016/17 concert season with the orchestra’s first performance with newly-appointed Music Director Carlos Izcaray. A devotee of classical music since he started in Venezuela’s public system of youth orchestras at the age of 3, Maestro Izcaray (also Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra) has worked with a diverse array of professional and educational ensembles the world over, and has earned accolades for his performances as both a solo cellist and chamber musician. Though challenging works, the selections for the October 16 concert - Schreker’s Vorspiel zu einem Drama, Bloch’s Hebraic Rhapsody, and Mahler’s Symphony No.1 (Titan) - have been chosen to highlight the prowess and skill of AYS musicians. Izcaray’s deft conducting will be paired with the prodigious talent of AYS principal cellist, Coleman Itzkoff, winner of the 2016 concerto competition, who has been heralded as "virtuosic" by the LA Times. The concert is free and seating is limited. Reserve free tickets now!

On Sunday, October 30 at 6pm in LACMA’s elegant Leo S. Bing Theatre, principal American Youth Symphony musicians will perform in the museum’s popular Sundays Live concert series. This concert will feature Haydn’s Quartet Op. 76 #5 and Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet. This is a non-ticketed event, and seating will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

On Saturday, November 12 at 7:30pm in UCLA’s Royce Hall, esteemed composer, conductor, and AYS alumnus Maestro David Newman leads the orchestra in a live-to-picture performance of Alan Silvestri’s unforgettable score for Back to the Future. The evening includes a Q&A session with David Newman, Alan Silvestri, and Bob Gale, moderated by leading film and television music writer Jon Burlingame (starting at 7pm). A fundraising dinner precedes the concert, and an 80’s-themed after-party will follow it, complete with DJ, dance floor, food trucks and Back to the Future actors. Ticket prices range from 15$ (concert and Q&A session), $45 (concert, Q&A, and after-party), and $350 (all-inclusive fundraising dinner).

Reserve your tickets at

This marks the ninth installment in the American Youth Symphony’s Hollywood Project, which has canvassed the work of John Williams, Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Giacchino, and now Alan Silvestri. A multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee, and Grammy and Emmy winner, Silvestri has scored countless major motion pictures, including Forrest Gump, Marvel’s The Avengers, and Castaway.

On Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 11am, in UCLA’s Royce Hall AYS presents a fun and engaging performance for audiences of all ages, supported in part by the Amazing Kid Company. The Family Music Adventure sees AYS resident conductor Juan Felipe Molano at the podium. Maestro Molano has not only led orchestras across the globe; he has also displayed an unflagging commitment to furthering the field of classical music, having appeared as speaker and leader at several international seminars, workshops and conferences. Tickets are free and seating is limited; reservations open 1.11.17.

On February 12, 2017 at 4:30pm in UCLA’s Royce Hall, AYS presents its first video game concert. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), “Game Changer” features suites from the acclaimed scores of three of the most successful titles in electronic gaming: The Last Guardian (Takeshi Furukawa), Journey (Austin Wintory), and The Order: 1886 (Jason Graves). This concert pairs video game scores with classical masterworks that inspired these composers to enter the field, including Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” and Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird suite. Tickets are free to the public, and include a pre-concert Q&A with the composers. Reservations open 1.11.17.

On Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 2pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the grace and majesty of classical music and the raw energy of rock and roll collide as the American Youth Symphony welcomes guest guitarist Steve Vai to the stage. Featuring Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and a piece composed by former Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as an original guitar composition by Vai himself, this concert is guaranteed to excite. A three-time Grammy Award winner and Guitar World’s voted-10th “Greatest Guitarist of All Time,” Steve Vai is an undeniable icon in the music industry. Vai first rose to prominence through his work with Frank Zappa, and since then has gone on to work with such artists as David Lee Roth, Whitesnake, Mary J. Blige, Spinal Tap, and Ozzy Osbourne, among many others. Vai has sold over 15 million records, and his music has appeared in film, television, and video games. Tickets are priced from $15-$46, reservations open 1.11.17.

On Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 6pm in UCLA’s Royce Hall, AYS celebrates its annual gala with the the music of Mozart, Korngold, and Rachmaninoff. Maestro Carlos Izcaray leads the orchestra through Mozart’s overture from The Marriage of Figaro, Korngold’s Violin Concerto (featuring 2016 concerto competition winner Rachel Ostler), and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Ostler, an AYS alumna from 2013-16, is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the Yale School of Music. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Colburn Conservatory, and protégée of Monte Belknap. Tickets are free and seating is limited. Reservations open 1.11.17.

On Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 2pm in LACMA’s Leo S. Bing Theatre, the original ballet version of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring will be performed by AYS in partnership with a local modern ballet troupe. The Members’ Priority concert, offered in appreciation for donors and audience members’ support of AYS, will also feature works by visionary French baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. Free ticket reservations for AYS members open on 1.11.17, while free general audience reservations open on 5.3.17.


The American Youth Symphony’s mission is to inspire the future of classical music. The organization shares exceptional, innovative concerts based on a landmark Fellowship program for musicians ages 15-27. Moreover, these concerts are offered for free or significantly reduced admission.  Competitively selected, the orchestra is comprised of 100 musicians who represent extraordinary talent from all over the world. By gifting the community with remarkable concerts at world-class venues, the American Youth Symphony remains committed to creating access and opportunity for everyone to experience the inspiration of this beautiful art form. 

Source: American Youth Symphony