Press Release: 2019 Gala

Press Release: Internationally-Renowned Violinist, Sarah Chang, Joins The American Youth Symphony (AYS) for World-Premiere Performance of a New Work by Celebrated Film Composer, Fil Eisler


Saturday, April 27, 2019 at UCLA’s Royce Hall
5:00 p.m. Concert; 7:00 p.m. Annual Gala Dinner
Concert tickets are FREE

(3/21/19, Los Angeles, CA) – The American Youth Symphony (AYS) welcomes famed violinist Sarah Chang for the world premiere performance of composer Fil Eisler’s new violin concerto. This concert, presented as part of the prestigious orchestra’s 54th annual Gala celebrations, represents the inaugural event of the AYS Korngold Commission Project. The project takes its name and inspiration from Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a prolific composer in the golden age of Hollywood, whose 1945 Violin Concerto is now celebrated as a virtuoso masterwork.

Funded by AYS Board Secretary Peter Mandell and Advisory Council Member Sarah Coade Mandell, the aim of The Korngold Project is to unite great composers of film and media music with top classical soloists to create and premiere new works. Under the skilled baton of AYS Music Director Carlos Izcaray, this concert will do just that, in pairing Sarah Chang, one of the great violinists of our time, with Fil Eisler, a BMI and SXSW award-winner, best known for scoring hit television series Empire and Revenge, and the 2018 hit film Proud Mary

Also on the program for the 54th Gala Concert is Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, which will be conducted by Jessica Bejarano, who makes her debut with AYS. Bejarano currently serves as as music director and conductor of the San Francisco Civic Symphony, and music director at San Francisco University High School where she conducts the UHS Chamber Orchestra. Recently, PBS NewsHour aired a feature story on Bejarano, and KQED named Jessica 1 of 10 “Bay Brilliant” artists for 2018.

AYS Music Director Carlos Izcaray will conduct This Midnight Hour by Anna Clyne, whose work has been described by the New York Times as “virtuosic,” “inventive,” and “dreamlike;” and, to complete the evening, Richard Strauss’ beloved  Der Rosenkavalier Suite.

This concert will be shared for free with the public as part of the American Youth Symphony’s long-standing commitment to making inspiring classical performances accessible to all. The 5:00pm performance will be followed by the 54th Annual Gala Dinner at 7:30pm – both at UCLA’s historic Royce Hall.

Reserve complimentary concert tickets, or join Sarah Chang, Fil Eisler, and AYS musicians and donors for the Gala Dinner to support the mission and programs of AYS. Dinner guests receive premium concert seating, and will have the opportunity to meet and greet the stars of the evening.

Reserve online at or by phone at 310.470.2332!

Heralded as “the finest youth symphony on earth,” by KUSC’s Jim Svejda, the American Youth Symphony has been fulfilling its mission to inspire the future of classical music for over 50 years. AYS presents exceptional, innovative concerts based on a landmark Fellowship program for young professional musicians in high school through doctoral music programs. Competitively selected, the 100-piece orchestra represents extraordinary talent from all over the world. AYS concerts are shared for free or significantly reduced admission, out of a commitment to creating access and opportunity for everyone to experience the power and inspiration of this beautiful art form. Learn more at:

About Carlos Izcaray:

AYS Music Director, Carlos Izcaray, has an international reputation as seasoned composer, conductor and educator. Izcaray is a strong believer in supporting younger generations, working extensively with the world’s top talents and leading music institutions. In addition to having led prestigious orchestras in Colombia, Argentina, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa and more, Izcaray has distinguished himself as a talented instrumentalist who has been featured as a concert soloist and chamber musician worldwide. Throughout his career, Izcaray has shown special interest and prowess in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic repertoire, while championing a historically informed approach to works from past eras. He also serves as Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, with whom his recent orchestral composition, Yellowhammer, received rave reviews for its world premiere in February 2018. Learn more at:



Recognized as one of the foremost violinists of our time, Sarah Chang has performed with the most esteemed orchestras, conductors, and accompanists in an international career spanning more than two decades. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of eight, Ms. Chang has continued to impress audiences with her technical virtuosity and refined emotional depth.

Highlights from Ms. Chang’s recent and upcoming seasons, have included performances with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony,  National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. She has also performed at the Hollywood Bowl and at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Aspen Music Festivals, among others. As an accomplished recital and chamber musician, Ms. Chang regularly travels the world, performing with such artists as Pinchas Zukerman, Yefim Bronfman, Leif  Ove Andsnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. 

In 2012, Sarah Chang received the Harvard University Leadership Award, and in 2005, Yale University dedicated a chair in Sprague Hall in her name. For the June 2004 Olympic games, she was given the honor of running with the Olympic Torch in New York, and that same month, became the youngest person ever to receive the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame award. Other previous distinctions include the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Gramophone’s “Young Artist of the Year” award, Germany’s “Echo” Schallplattenpreis, “Newcomer of the Year” honors at the International Classical Music Awards in London, and Korea’s “Nan Pa” award.  In 2011, Ms. Chang was named an official Artistic Ambassador by the United States Department of State. Learn more at:


Fil Eisler is an award-winning composer with projects ranging from big studio action pieces and comedies, to gritty independent films and hit television shows. His inventive scores and signature themes enliven some of TV’s most popular series and notable films. He composes for Fox’s Golden Globe-nominated drama series Empire, as well as Lifetime’s Peabody-winning series UnReal, Bravo’s hit comedy drama series Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, and Showtime’s Emmy-winning Shameless. Eisler was also both the composer and conductor for ABC’s breakout hit drama Revenge. In 2017 Eisler completed the scores for Netflix’s drama To The Bone and Warner Bros.’ hilarious film reboot of the fan-favorite series, CHIPS. Eisler has composed music for such varied films as Sony’s Proud Mary, Netflix’s sci-fi thriller The Titan, and MGM and New Line Cinemas’ People’s Choice Awards-nominated How To Be Single. Eisler also acted as composer and music director for the Peabody-winning documentary, Newtown.

Eisler, a Czech-born, English-raised composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, has worked with ensembles of all shapes and sizes to help bring his scores to life. Variety described his music as “smoky, elaborate film noir-inspired compositions”, while Beatweek Magazine praised him for making “beautiful music” that “…almost acts as another character further enveloping the audience in its grasp.” Eisler has been nominated and has received numerous awards including the World Soundtrack Awards New Discovery, SXSW Best Soundtrack Award and multiple BMI awards. Learn more at:


Jessica Bejarano currently serves as music director and conductor of the San Francisco Civic Symphony, and as music director at San Francisco University High School. Northern California’s KQED named her one of ten “Bay Brilliant” artists for 2018, and in early 2019, PBS NewsHour Weekend aired a feature story on her as part of their “Chasing the Dream” series.

Ms. Bejarano recently completed a guest conductor post at UC Santa Cruz with the UC Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra, and in January 2018, she was one of twelve female conductors selected from around the world to attend and conduct at the International Women’s Conference in New York City. In 2017, Jessica was a featured guest conductor with the Falcon Symphony Orchestra in Coro, Venezuela. While there, she also worked with the famed El Sistema music education program. 

Jessica received her Master of Arts in Conducting from the University of California Davis; Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Wyoming; and Associates of Fine Arts in Music Education from Casper College. She has also attended the International Academy of Advanced Conducting in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the Conductors’ Guild Conducting master course with Maestra Marin Alsop, and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Learn more at:

American Youth Symphony