Varina Bleil, executive director,
Isabel Thiroux, director of orchestra operations,
Alice Dutton, director of community engagement,
Delaney Wessel, development & audience relations coordinator,
Max Mueller, program coordinator, 

Varina Bleil, Executive Director

Varina Bleil has been the Executive Director of the American Youth Symphony since February 2014. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of Inside Out Community Arts for over four years. Varina previously served as the Development Executive at The Help Group and, as such, has over a decade of experience in non-profit administration, as well as being a Teaching Artist with various arts organizations in Los Angeles whose mission is to improve the lives of underserved populations through the arts. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Varina worked in the film and television industry where she served as a development executive, producer and writer. Her experience there included Senior Vice President at Weed Road Pictures, staff writer on the television series “Eureka”, and Associate Producer on the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Varina received a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and a M.Ed. (Arts in Education) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she worked closely with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. She also served on the Board of Directors of Elemental Strings and Band for five years before transitioning to their Advisory Board. As a nonprofit executive, Varina is a graduate of the Annenberg Alchemy and Alchemy Plus program, the Executive Service Corp’s Wells Fargo Executive Directors Leadership Institute and Developing Development program, Courage to Lead, Leadership LA, and the Hershey Cause Communications “communicating for Results” program.


Isabel Thiroux
Director of Orchestra Operations

Isabel Thiroux, Orchestra Manager, joined the staff of the American Youth Symphony in 2007 as an Administrative Assistant, and was promoted to her current position in 2009. She currently reports to both the Executive Director and the Music Director.

Ms. Thiroux graduated from CSU, Long Beach with a BM in Viola Performance in 2004. She is an AYS alumna who trained in the orchestra from 2001 to 2007.

Alice Staff Photo

Alice Dutton
Director of Community Engagement

Alice Dutton joined the staff of the American Youth Symphony in Fall 2011, and became Director of Community Engagement in Summer 2015.

Alice’s goal for her work at AYS is to build a community of music lovers that reflects the demographics of the city of Los Angeles. Toward this end, she has spearheaded projects that have brought AYS musicians into underserved classrooms, and have brought hundreds of local students to AYS concerts.

Alice graduated from New College of Florida in 2007 with a degree in Humanities.

Delaney Wessel
Development & Audience Relations Coordinator

Delaney Wessel is a lifelong musician and supporter of the arts and joined AYS as Development and Audience Relations Coordinator in 2016. She earned her BA in music from the University of Nebraska in 2010 and her MA in German from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012. She has spent the past 3 years working with European taxes and plans to bring her financial savvy to the AYS development department.

Delaney spent the summer backpacking in the California desert and is active in the Los Angeles bicycling community.

Max Staff Crop

Max Mueller
Program Coordinator

Max Mueller is a cellist, composer, and music educator. He first became involved with AYS in 2010, working with David Newman to edit the scores of the Goldsmith III concert. He has been an active consultant ever since, and officially joined the staff in January 2016, taking a leadership role in expanding the “Share a Stand” program, bringing AYS musicians to music classes in underserved middle schools.