Tara Aesquivel, executive director,

Isabel Thiroux, director of orchestra operations,

Alice Dutton, director of community engagement,

Mia McNeil,  development associate,

Max Mueller, share-a-stand lead instructor, 


Tara Aesquivel

Executive Director

Through her work, Tara Aesquivel strives to share the power of the arts with others. Tara’s professional experience includes strategic planning, fundraising, production, and community engagement for Pittsburgh Opera, LA Opera, A Noise Within, Antioch University Los Angeles, The Lukens Company, and Invertigo Dance Theatre. Tara is thrilled to bring her experience to the Executive Director role at the American Youth Symphony. Tara has a B.A. in Music from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and studied Cultural Economics at the University of Bologna. Tara volunteers with Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles and the Cal State Dominguez Hills Innovation Incubator. She also enjoys traveling, camping, and being a mom.

Alice Dutton

Director of Community Engagement

Director of Community Engagement Alice Dutton is now in her eighth season with the American Youth Symphony. Throughout her years at AYS, Alice has worked to cultivate a community of music lovers that reflects the vibrant diversity of the city of Los Angeles. Toward this end, she has spearheaded projects that engage new audiences, send AYS musicians to underserved classrooms, and bring hundreds of local students to AYS concerts.

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


Isabel Thiroux
Director of Orchestra Operations

Isabel Thiroux has been with the American Youth Symphony since she first joined the viola section in 2001. After seven years in the orchestra, she “graduated” to working in the office, becoming Orchestra Manager in 2010 and Director of Orchestra Operations in 2015.

Ms. Thiroux studied viola at CSU, Long Beach with LA Philharmonic violist John Hayhurst and maintains an active career as a freelance violist performing regularly around the Los Angeles area.

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Mia McNeil

Development Associate

Mia McNeil graduated from Loyola Marymount University

with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism. She grew up in Chicago, Illinois and quickly fell in love with writing and musical composition.

Mia played violin throughout her childhood, studying at the Chicago High School for the Arts and Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.

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Max Mueller
Lead Instructor, Share-A-Stand program

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.