An Update from Tara Aesquivel, AYS Executive Director

An update from tara aesquivel, ays executive director

March 25, 2020  

To the American Youth Symphony friends and family, 

So much has changed within our community and lives recently. The pace of change has been dizzying at times and I hope that you, and all members of the AYS family, are staying safe.

At AYS, we have been adapting and adjusting to address the sudden and unexpected impacts that COVID-19 has had on our services, programming, and community. Throughout this period of sheltering at home and through to the next season, we will continue efforts to bring our community together through music.

All of the live concerts we had planned for this Spring have been cancelled, including our 55th Annual Gala.  We are working on creative new ways to make and share music, provide valuable experiences to our orchestra fellows, and strengthen the audience for classical music. 

Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re working on:

  • Planning the 2020/2021 Season.

  • Social media #ThrowbackTunes, to highlight memories from the rich history of AYS performances, for all to enjoy on YouTube and SoundCloud.

  • Interesting, fun, and informative new articles on our blogAYS Amplifies.  (Send your ideas or requests for future blog posts to!)

  • Coaching videos for our Share-A-Stand middle schoolers, who are now practicing and learning at home.

  • New professional development opportunities for AYS musicians, as they continue their studies virtually.

  • Virtual Gala, including brand new performances and interviews.  

On the operations side, AYS staff members are all working from home, and I’m checking the mail at the office twice a week.  Our operations platforms were already cloud-based, so the transition to working remotely was made easily and immediately upon recommendations from health agencies.  

We have a small, but mightily talented staff and a deeply dedicated board of directors who are working hard to propel the beloved institution of the American Youth Symphony through this period of change, toward 55 more years of inspiring the future of classical music.  I look forward to sharing our new projects with you soon.  

Today, I’m listening to our recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, played beautifully by our Concertmaster, Gallia Kastner, and conducted by Maestro Izcaray.  Would you like to listen with me?

May music continue to be a source of solace, comfort, and inspiration to you. We’ll have more music to share with you soon.

Very Sincerely,


Tara Aesquivel
Executive Director
American Youth Symphony

American Youth Symphony