Press Release: American Youth Symphony Opens its 2019–2020 Season: A Celebration of Nature

Press Release: American Youth Symphony Opens its 2019–2020 Season: A Celebration of Nature

Music Director Carlos Izcaray leads the American Youth Symphony in a program of Joan Tower’s Sequoia, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony

October 20th, at 7:00 p.m. at UCLA’s Royce Hall
Tickets are FREE
Please visit to reserve tickets

(Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Los Angeles, CA) – The American Youth Symphony (AYS) opens its 55th season at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Sunday, October 20th, at 7:00 pm with a program including Joan Tower’s Sequoia, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, and Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. Tickets are free and seating is limited. Tickets may be reserved at

AYS continues its tradition of inspiring awareness and social change with an environmental programming theme, “A Celebration of Nature.” Led by Music Director Carlos Izcaray, the opening concert begins with Sequoia, a reflection on the connection between music and nature by Joan Tower, one of today’s most prominent living American composers. After experiencing the sequoia trees in Northern California, Tower could not dismiss the balancing act of the tall and ancient trees and describes Sequoia as a balancing of “musical energies.”

The program continues with Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, performed by 2019 AYS Concerto Competition winner Gallia Kastner. Kastner’s performance is highly anticipated after her performance of the same work at the Aspen Music Festival this summer. The evening concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral.” “Beethoven publicly declared the piece’s ‘extramusical’ purpose: an expression of nature. His affinity for nature and his love for walks through the country outside Vienna were captured in the Sixth, as well as in the notes scribbled on sketches of the symphony.” (NPR)

This 2019–2020 season highlights the nuances and beauty in nature and the works it has inspired. The season will feature new works from living composers alongside iconic masterpieces, including Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony. As the complexity of our world’s interdependency with the environment appears currently on the global stage, AYS dedicates this season to the wonders of the natural world.

For concert reservations visit or call 310-470-2332.

For Calendar Section

What: American Youth Symphony Opening Night

Who: Carlos Izcaray, Music Director
Gallia Kastner, violin

Where: Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90095

When: Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Admission: FREE – reserve your seat at or call 310-470-2332

Program: Tower, Sequoia
Sibelius, Violin Concerto, D minor, Op. 47
Beethoven, Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”

About the Artists
Carlos Izcaray is one of the leading conductors of his generation. He is Music Director for AYS and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He is now in his fourth season with AYS. Izcaray shows special interest and prowess in undertaking the most complex works in the classical canon, while also championing innovative programming and celebrating new voices. Praised by international press, Izcaray has won top prizes at prestigious festivals and competitions world over, appearing with numerous ensembles across five continents.

Gallia Kastner is a Bachelor Degree candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles where she studies with Robert Lipsett. She is the winner of the 2016 Pasadena Showcase Competition, the 2015 Thomas and Evon Cooper International Violin Competition, a winner in the 2014 Youngarts National Scholarship Program, the winner of the 2013 Blount Slawson National Concerto Competition, a prize winner in the 2013 Stradivarius International Violin Competition in Utah, the winner of the 2012 Johansen International Competition, and numerous other prizes. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra, and many more. She was part of Quartet Lumiére that won first prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Gallia Kastner plays on an 1843 Giovanni Francesco Pressenda violin on generous loan from The Mandell Collection of Southern California.

About American Youth Symphony
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.

American Youth Symphony