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Previewing the American Youth Symphony’s Nature-Inspired Season

Music Director Carlos Izcaray | Photo courtesy of American Youth Symphony

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Previewing the American Youth Symphony’s Nature-Inspired Season

The American Youth Symphony launches its 55th season with a free concert at Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA Sunday evening, October 20 at 7pm. It’s Music Director Carlos Izcaray’s fourth season with the orchestra, and he revels in programming a wide range of repertoire, from familiar works to a world premiere–in May, Jihyun Kim’s latest work, a co-commission between AYS, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Alabama Symphony, will be unveiled at Royce Hall.

AYS musicians are topnotch students, ranging from high school kids to the doctoral level. Technical challenges abound in each season’s repertoire, but Izcaray says the musicians are up to it; many are on the verge of professional careers. Izcaray knows the life of an instrumentalist well—he’s a former Principal Cello of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra. And he got a very early start in this field; he was enrolled in Venezuela’s renowned public system of youth orchestras, El Sistema, at the age of three!

Concertmaster Gallia Kastner | Photo courtesy of American Youth Symphony

Initiating the season-long theme–A Celebration of Nature–the opening concert October 20th features Joan Tower’s Sequoia and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. In between, longtime concertmaster Gallia Kastner, winner of the AYS Concerto Competition, will be the soloist in the Violin Concerto of Jean Sibelius. Learn more about the American Youth Symphony’s 2019-2020 season of free concerts at

Written by:
John Van Driel
John Van Driel
Published on 10.11.2019