2017/18 Auditions – Open Now

2017/18 auditions application OPEN 6/1/2017


Audition Information | Audition Repertoire | Audition FAQ

Apply Online

Questions? Email Director of Orchestra Operations, Isabel Thiroux

Learn about this season’s Fellowship opportunities.

Associate Concertmaster
Asst Concertmaster
Principal Second Violin
Asst Principal Second Violin
Principal Viola
Asst Principal Viola
Principal Cello
All String Sections Open

Principal Percussion
Section Percussion

Principal Flute
Principal Oboe
Principal Clarinet
Principal Bassoon
Principal Horn
Principal Trumpet
Second Trombone
Bass Trombone


Auditions will be held for all instruments. Openings subject to change, check website for updates.


Music Director & Resident Conductor


In May of 2016, the American Youth Symphony was thrilled to announce the appointment of Maestro Carlos Izcaray as Music Director; only the third conductor to hold that title in the organization’s distinguished 52-year history.

Maestro Izcaray, Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, was selected from a vast field of highly qualified candidates from around the world, by a search committee that included such luminaries as Composer and Conductor David Newman; Los Angeles Philharmonic COO, Chad Smith; NY Philharmonic VP of Artistic Planning, Edward Yim; and Dean of the USC Thornton School of Music, Robert Cutietta; as well as a host of AYS Board Members, alumni, and industry leaders.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Carlos Izcaray become our new Music Director.  AYS musicians and audiences will greatly benefit from his artistry, enthusiasm, and experience. We all look forward to the future of this exciting partnership.” – Kevin Dretzka, Chairman of the Board of AYS

Considered one of the leading conductors of his generation, Maestro Izcaray has toured extensively throughout the US and Europe as a guest conductor, and has worked tirelessly to support the next generation of musicians by partnering with the world’s top talents and leading music education institutions, including El Sistema in his native Venezuela, Cambridge University Music Society, London Schools Symphony Orchestra, and the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his career, Izcaray has shown special interest and prowess in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic repertoire, while also championing the historically informed approach to works from past eras.

“I’m incredibly honored and excited to become the next Music Director of the American Youth Symphony, an ensemble with a deep history and a bright future in the great city of Los Angeles. AYS is without a doubt one of a handful of elite training orchestras in the United States, hence I cherish the opportunity to contribute in the development of the next generation of top professional musicians.” – Carlos Izcaray

Born into an artistic family in Caracas, Maestro Izcaray was enrolled in Venezuela’s public system of youth orchestras at age three, and began studying conducting with his father when he was a teenager. He is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New World School of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He was named a distinguished fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, and won top prizes at the Aspen Music Festival, and Toscanini International Conducting Competition, in 2007 and 2008.

In addition to his work on the podium, Maestro Izcaray is also a celebrated cellist, accomplished composer, and avid human rights activist. His musical tastes range from Mozart and Shostakovich to Miles Davis and Radiohead, and he has even been known to share his musical talents outside of the concert hall as a Deep House DJ. He is a dual citizen of Spain and Venezuela, and is currently based in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife Yolanda, and their three children Sofia, Alicia and Sebastian. He is now looking forward to coming to LA on a regular basis, and beginning what he believes is the start of a great relationship with this amazingly vibrant city.

“We are eager to introduce our community to Maestro Izcaray’s inspiring approach to both musical pedagogy and programming. Maestro Izcaray is one of the greatest examples in this art form of conductors who skillfully embrace its rich history and traditions in equal measure with an innovative embrace of its future.” – Varina Bleil, Executive Director of AYS

LA Phil - Orchestra Member Portraits Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging
LA Phil – Orchestra Member Portraits
Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

AYS has also hired a Resident Conductor, Maestro Juan Felipe Molano. Maestro Molano was appointed conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA in 2014, and previously held that position with the Colombian Youth Philharmonic and Batuta Colombian System of Youth Orchestras (El Sistema – Colombia). He served as Music Director of the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra for five years, conducting an eclectic symphonic repertoire, operas and contemporary works, and collaborating with artists such as Placido Domingo, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Joseph De Pasquale, and Ryu Goto, among many others. He has also conducted top orchestras throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, and South and Central America, including Los Angeles Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Symphony and Youth Orchestra of Americas. He has a deep passion for education; he has worked as a university professor for the last 15 years in Colombia, Mexico and now the US, and is committed to inspiring orchestras and enriching audiences from the podium. Maestro Molano lives in Los Angeles with his wife Cristina, and daughters Isabella and Valeria.

Maestros Izcaray and Molano are looking forward to working together to uphold the exemplary educational and performance tradition of the American Youth Symphony.

AYS was founded in 1964 by Maestro Mehli Mehta, who held the podium until he retired in 1998, at age 90. He then passed the baton to Maestro Alexander Treger, who led the orchestra through its 50th Anniversary Season in 2014/15.

Heralded by KUSC’s Jim Svejda as “the finest youth symphony on earth,” the mission of AYS is to inspire the future of classical music. The orchestra provides paid fellowships to 100 musicians in high school through doctoral music programs who represent extraordinary talent from all over the world; and presents concerts for free as a gift to the community – part of a long-standing commitment to eliminating all barriers to experiencing the remarkable beauty, power and inspiration of classical masterworks.

Maestro Izcaray and AYS Musicians - Photo by Philip Holahan

Support AYS

AYS Believes…

  • Access to excellent musical training should be based solely on merit, not financial means
  • Exceptional quality orchestral performances should be accessible to all members of the community
  • Classical music is not only alive and vibrant, but is relevant to all audiences

You can donate…

By Mail

Send a check to:
5150 Wilshire Boulevard, Ste 506
Los Angeles, CA 90036

By Phone

(310) 470-2332


Please fill out the secure online donation form.

Make a Gift of Stock

For instructions, click here.

Purchase a Program Book Ad

If you would like to purchase an ad in one of our program books, please mail in the 2016-17 Ad Form, or call our office with your ad specifications, and we will be happy to process your order by phone. You are also welcome to fax your order to (310) 470-2772.

Make a Gift in Tribute

If you would like to make a gift to honor someone, we will send a card to your honoree (or their family) and include your tribute in the next program book. If you choose to make a gift in tribute, please include the name of your honoree, the address to which we should send the card, and any brief message you wish to include in the comment section of the order form.

If you need assistance, please call us, or e-mail Delaney Wessel. We would be happy to assist you! For a list of donor benefits, click here.

Donate Now

Federal Tax ID: #95-2076046

News & Press

2016/17 SEASON

Press Release: 2017 Members Priority Concert Features Appalachian Spring
Press Release:
2017 AYS Gala Features Concerto Competition Winner Rachel Ostler
Press Release:
AYS Joins Forces with Electric Guitar Icon Steve Vai (Read en Español)

Music Respawn! Jason Graves & Austin Wintory In A Game Changer Concert
Press Relase: American Youth Symphony to Perform Free Concert Featuring Songs from Notable PlayStation Games

Press Release: Historic Million Dollar Gift from Peter Mandell and Sarah Coade Mandell

BMI: Back to the Future with American Youth Symphony
Film Music Society: Back to the Future Live-to-Picture
LAist: You’re Going Back to the Future
Daily Bruin: 
Youth Symphony to Perform Live ‘Back to the Future’ Score at Royce Hall
Press Release: Back to the Future Concert

Press Release: Season Opening Concert
Press Release: Announcing the 2016/17 Season

2015/16 SEASON

AYS Musicians Perform at Gala Honoring John Williams:
John Williams Honored by Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford at AFI Gala 
Steven Spielberg, George Lucas & Kobe Bryant Laud Composer John Williams At Emotional AFI Toast
LA Times: ‘E.T.,’ ‘Jaws,’ ‘Star Wars’ composer John Williams honored at American Film Institute
Deadline: John Williams’ AFI Gala Had The Ultimate Hollywood Soundtrack
The Wrap: 11 Things We Learned at AFI Tribute to John Williams
June 10, 2016
Press Release:
American Youth Symphony Names New Music Director and Resident Conductor
En Español:
La American Youth Symphony Nombra Nuevo Director Musical Y Director Residente.

Press Release: AYS Receives NEA Grant for “Vivaldi to Video Games” Concert

David Newman Honored by BMI:
Hollywood Reporter | April 12, 2016
Broadway World | April 28, 2016
Film Music Society | May 13, 2016
Yahoo News | May 12, 2016

AYS and National Children’s Chorus Rise to Heaven Earth Mankind
Rick Schultz, LA Times | March 15, 2016

K-Mozart Arts Reports: Heaven Earth Mankind
Nick Tyler interviews David Alan Miller and Coleman Itzkoff

Press Release: AYS and Nation Children’s Chorus in LA Premiere

Press Release: Famed Violinist Joins AYS to Perform a Work Written for him by Philip Glass

Press Release: Free Family Music Adventure Concert

Press Release: AYS Guest Conductors Spring 2016

AYS Launches 51st Season with Michael Giacchino’s Exhilarating Score
for Star Trek Into Darkness Played Live to Picture

American Youth Symphony Beams Up!
Paula Parisi, Max the Trax | August 28, 2015

Star Trek Into Darkness Gets Symphonic
Daily Concepts Blog | September 9, 2015

2014/15 SEASON

April 2015: KUSC reporter Tim Grieving sat down with AYS Executive Director, Varina Bleil, and Principal Timpanist, Steven Logan, to discuss the orchestra’s unique blend of professionalism and youthfulness.
Check it out! 


Donation In Memory of Henri Lazarof Allows American Youth Symphony To Name Music Director Chair
Beverly Hills Courier | May 2014

Press Release: AYS VITALITY Concert with Sarah Chang

Press Release: AYS 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala

Press Release: AYS and Valentina Lisitsa at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Press Release: Music Director Alexander Treger to conclude AYS Tenure at the end of the 2014-15 Season

2013/14 SEASON
Valentina circle

AYS Receives Major Gift to Name Music Director Chair
Press Release | May 1, 2014

AYS delivers an ebullient finish to the 49th season
Examiner.com | April 15, 2014

Young Guns
Out West Arts | April 27, 2014

Interview with Nigel Armstrong
Violinist.com | April 10, 2014

Springtime in Paris with Valentina Lisitsa
Culture Spot LA

The Elfman Project II
Broadway World | November 1, 2013

Concerto for Piano and YouTube
New York Times | Oct 11, 2013

American Youth Symphony fine-tunes new pieces for season opening
The Daily Bruin | October 3, 2013

New Season opens October 6 at Royce Hall
Press Release


American Youth Symphony Explores the work of Composer Danny Elfman
The Hollywood Reporter | May 1, 2012

David Newman and AYS embark on a three-year exploration of Danny Elfman’s music
Film Score Monthly | May 2012

American Youth Symphony Salutes Danny Elfman
Film Music Society | April 18, 2012

Record Numbers Pack Royce Hall for Symposium and Concert
Film Music Society | May 9, 2012

American Youth Symphony Presents Danny Elfman Project
Broadcast Music, Inc. | April 17, 2012

10 Questions with David Newman
Broadcast Music, Inc | April 27, 2012


Daníel Bjarnason wins Iceland’s Composer of the Year for “The isle is full of noises” — a work co-commissioned by AYS and the LACC
Press Release | February 26, 2013

Concert features American Youth Symphony, renowned pianist
The Daily Bruin | November 16, 2012

Co-Concertmaster Mayumi Kanagawa makes an impressive debut at Disney Hall
LA Times | April 24, 2012

Disney Hall Concert Review: What happens when the musical cream rises to the top
San Gabriel Valley Tribune | March 5, 2012

AYS co-commissions a new work by Danìel Bjarnason
Glendale News-Press | March 2, 2012 AYS

LA Phil Presents: AYS and LACC
Press Release


AYS receives the highest score of all 2011/12 LA County Arts Commission Grant applicants.
LA Times | July 5, 2011


David Newman conducts the final concert of the Goldsmith Project
Film Score Monthly | March 17, 2011

Every piece performed during the concert, fron the hair-raising Twilight Zone: The Movie overture to the indelible action cue “Roxie Loses” from Basic Instinct… showcased Goldsmith’s brilliance as well as the utmost importance of having film music performed live.”

Cheering crowds fill Royce Hall to celebrate Goldsmith’s lasting legacy
Marilee Bradford reviews the climax of the Goldsmith Project.
Film Music Society | March 16, 2011

David Newman discusses The Goldsmith Project
Jerry Goldsmith Online | March 8, 2011

It’s amazing what you can accomplish with terrific players and a large amount of rehearsal. You really hear the music for what it is.”

Concert Videos

2015/16 Season

November 17, 2015 | Royce Hall

Emmanuel Villaume, conductor
Andrew von Oeyen, piano

Ravel: Menuet antique
Lazarof: Poema
Gershwin: Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major
Debussy: La mer

Videography by Visionmixer Productions

Check out our Pre-Concert Podcast with Andrew von Oeyen

AYS Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

VITALITY Concert with Sarah Chang
May 22, 2015
Ann & Jerry Moss Theater
At the Herb Alpert Educational Village
At New Roads School

David Newman, conductor
Sarah Chang, violin


Video Installation by Jake Michaels
Concert Videography by Visionmixer Productions

Celebration Concert, April 26, 2015 | Royce Hall

Alexander Treger, conductor
Glenn Dicterow, violin
Karen Dreyfus, viola

Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”

Videography by Visionmixer Production

Check out our Pre-Concert Podcast with Glenn Dicterow and Karen Dreyfus

Legacy Concert, February 8, 2015 | Royce Hall

Alexander Treger, conductor
Michael Sachs, trumpet

Berlioz: Le Corsaire Overture
Eino Tamberg: Concerto for Trumpet No. 1
Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphony

Videography by Visionmixer Production

Check out our Pre-Concert Podcast with Michael Sachs

Imagination Concert, November 23, 2014 | Royce Hall

Part 2: The Elfman Project III

David Newman, conductor

Videography by Visionmixer Production

Passion Concert, October 12, 2014 | Royce Hall

Alexander Treger, conductor

Henri Lazarof Cello Concerto No. 4
Allan Steele, cello

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Videography by Visionmixer Production

Celebrating 50 years

From the Archives

John Williams conducts as AYS plays the theme from E.T.