American Youth Symphony’s 57th Annual Gala Celebrates the Close of its Landmark 2021-22 Season

Music Director Carlos Izcaray leads AYS Musicians in a program that includes:


John ADAMS: Short Ride on a Fast Machine

Alexander MANSOUR: Zephyr (World Premiere)

Gustav MAHLER: Symphony No. 5


Saturday, April 30, 2022

3:30 p.m. Gala Benefit Reception

5:00 p.m. Concert

7:00 p.m. Musician Benefit Reception


Pay-What-You-Can tickets for the concert, and ticket + reception packages, are available now


Learn more at www.aysymphony.org/57-gala/


(Thursday, March 31, 2022, Los Angeles, CA) – The American Youth Symphony (AYS), led by Music Director Carlos Izcaray, will celebrate its landmark 2021-22 season and the exceptional talent of its musicians at the 57th Annual Gala on Saturday, April 30th, 2022. The concert program begins at 5 p.m. and features John Adams’ Short Ride on a Fast Machine, the world premiere of Alexander Mansour’s Zephyr, and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Concert-only pay-what-you-can tickets are available here.


Gala events also include a pre-concert reception at 3 p.m. at Royce Hall’s outdoor terrace with specialty cocktails, wine, and hors d’oeuvres, and a post-concert dessert and coffee reception at 7 p.m. with Maestro Izcaray and AYS musicians, also on the terrace. For more information and to purchase reception packages, which include premium concert seats, please click here.


“This year’s gala concert feels especially significant because it celebrates the close of a season that finally brought our musicians and audiences together after a long and challenging pandemic period,” said Izcaray. “This would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication of American Youth Symphony’s staff, board members, and remarkable musicians. We are also very excited to perform the premiere of AYS Creative Fellow Alex Mansour’s new work Zephyr, an exciting composition that beautifully showcases the orchestra.”


Alexander Mansour is American Youth Symphony’s principal cellist and the first recipient of AYS’s Creative Fellowship, established by Izcaray in the 2021-22 season to offer the opportunity for an AYS musician to learn aspects of program curation and compose new works for AYS ensembles, all under Izcaray’s mentorship.


Mansour’s Zephyr is framed by two halves, Before and After, where the orchestra whips up a frenzy in the former and then addresses the ramifications of its actions in the latter. It is a tone poem that explores mimesis, using both acoustic air effects as well as electronic tape playback in the hall. In Before, a “call” motif begins the piece in three flutes. This statement is usually followed by a gust of air and pentatonic wind chimes. The music in this movement is propulsive, always gathering more and more energy, until the orchestra runs out of anywhere else to go. In After, the music is reverent, a bit broken, grieving from the prior cacophony. It is much more conversational, even political in debate. When the “call” motif returns, the ensemble deals with a returning gale, now better prepared.


Zephyr is specific to the AYS musicians performing it,” said Mansour. “I have been lucky to sit amongst the strings for several concerts during which my composing process was underway. It was always so inspiring to hear my colleagues; I’d return home from rehearsals and immediately open the piece to rewrite a part or to more prominently feature an instrument. Consequently, the piece is not unlike a concerto for orchestra, a showcase for my talented friends amongst the group. I am immensely grateful to Maestro Izcaray and AYS for commissioning the work.”


The gala program opens with John Adams’ Short Ride on a Fast Machine, a joyfully exuberant piece, brilliantly scored for a large orchestra. The program concludes with Mahler’s ​​expansively expressive Symphony No. 5, a story of life, death, and love beyond words, from tragedy to triumph.



To ensure everyone has access to quality music concerts, tickets for American Youth Symphony’s 57th Annual Gala are pay-what-you-can. All tickets must be reserved in advance and are available here.

Gala benefit packages including the pre- and post-concert receptions are available here.

Reservations, seating assignments, and public health policies are subject to change.  AYS must follow guidelines set by venues and public health agencies.


About AYS

Founded in 1964 by renowned conductor Mehli Mehta, the American Youth Symphony inspires the future of classical music by training the next generation of professional musicians and building new audiences for orchestral music.  AYS presents ambitious seasons that feature thoughtful programming of exceptionally high quality, covering a breadth of symphonic music, including beloved classics, film scores, chamber works, and contemporary pieces.  AYS is committed to reflecting the diversity of Los Angeles in its programming, representing artists and composers of all genders, generations, and ethnicities. AYS is also committed to equity within the orchestra, by holding blind, free auditions, and by paying musicians instead of charging tuition. AYS concerts are presented for free or low cost, at world-class concert halls and local community venues alike, with the goal of welcoming anyone who is interested to enjoy this beautiful art form. https://aysymphony.org/