The American Youth Symphony's mission is to inspire the future of a timeless art form by presenting exceptional free concerts based on our landmark training of musicians ages 15-27. The orchestra provides paid fellowships to 108 musicians per season, representing extraordinary talent from all over the world.
Training with AYS is tuition free, and concerts are presented free to the community, creating an opportunity for everyone to experience the joy, beauty and exuberance of remarkable orchestral performances. Players are exposed to a wide repertoire and varied styles of music, from classical masterworks to world premieres and innovative film scores. In recent years, guest artists have included Sarah Chang, Johannes Moser, John Williams, David Newman, Alan Silvestri, Charles Fox, Daniel Bjarnason, Lera Auerbach, Glenn Dicterow, James Conlon and Valentina Lisitsa.
Founded in 1964 by Mehli Mehta - father of Zubin Mehta and former Concertmaster of the Halle Orchestra - the American Youth Symphony has trained over 2,300 musicians who now enjoy successful careers in orchestras, music schools and recording studios around the world. AYS alumni can be found in principal chairs with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestras; and within the Los Angeles area, 32 alumni are employed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Opera Orchestras.
AYS is proud to celebrate many award-winners among our recent alumni. In February 2015, Eduardo Rios (AYS concertmaster 2014/15 season) won the First Place Laureate prize in the Sphinx Competition. In May 2014, Incendium Quartet, featuring AYS members Geneva Lewis (violin 2014-2015), and Atticus Mellor-Goldman (cello 2014-2015), won First Place in the Fischoff Competition. In September 2014, William Hagen, (concertmaster 2012/13) won Second Prize at the International Fritz Kreisler Competition. Other recent winners include Nigel Armstrong (Concertmaster 2009-2011), who received 4th Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition; Ken Hamao (Concertmaster 2003-2007), who won 4th Prize at the Sion Competition; Jeremy Berry (principal viola 2010/11), who, as a member of the Calidore String Quartet, won prizes at the 61st International ARD Munich String Quartet Competition and the 2nd Hamburg International String Quartet Competition; Andrew Bulbrook (AYS violin 2001-2003) and Jonathan Moerschel (viola 2000-2002) whose Calder Quartet received the Avery Fisher Career award in spring 2014; and Mayumi Kanagawa (concertmaster 2011/12), who won first prize at the Jascha Heifetz International Violin Competition.
It is vitally important to the American Youth Symphony to be a resource for the community, and in recent years we have expanded our partnerships to include collaborations with several local schools, as well as organizations like the Skirball Cultural Center and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We are proud to be part of this diverse and vibrant community, and are excited to continue growing and evolving together!