Press Release: American Youth Symphony’s Virtual Gala to Feature World Premiere Performance of Music Director Carlos Izcaray’s new work, Geometric Unity

Press Release: American Youth Symphony's Virtual gala to feature World Premiere Performance of Music Director Carlos Izcaray’s new work, Geometric Unity

Program also includes:

Performance by AYS Principal Cellist, Alex Mansour

Panel Discussion with AYS Korngold Commission Artists composer Fil Eisler, violinist Charles Yang, and composer Kris Bowers, moderated by composer Starr Parodi  

May 7, 2020 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 7:00 p.m. Eastern

Live stream on AYS Facebook and YouTube channels, and at https://aysymphonyorg.dream.press/gala/

May 3 – 9, 2020

Online silent auction at https://aysymphonyorg.dream.press/gala/

Please visit www.AYSymphony.org/gala for more information

(April 23, 2020 Los Angeles, CA) The American Youth Symphony (AYS) has created an ambitious online virtual gala experience that will feature a world premiere performance, a panel discussion about composing new orchestral works, an online silent auction, a cooking demonstration, and even a little bit of magic.

AYS Music Director Carlos Izcaray will lead a virtual orchestra of 24 AYS musicians, performing remotely throughout the U.S., in a performance of his new work, Geometric Unity. Written under quarantine in a span of just 10 days, Izcaray composed this work recognizing both the challenges and opportunities presented by living life under lockdown. 

“Due to this current pandemic, we are all truly being required to live in the digital age, which presents us with an enormous opportunity to do things differently and think about what the classical music experience looks like online” said Izcaray. “Geometric Unity was written with this in mind, utilizing new technologies that support the incredible talent of our musicians, and offer an accessible and inspirational listening experience.”

Geometric Unity employs a new musical algorithm developed by Izcaray to create a palatable, yet complex, harmonic language. The name of the piece is a nod to economist Eric Weinstein’s new theory of the universe known by the same name, and is also inspired by jazz vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, whose songs often feature extreme use of reharmonization.

During the age of coronavirus, performing arts organizations have had to find new ways to fundraise and connect with audiences. AYS canceled the remainder of its season, including the 55th Annual Gala, which was originally scheduled to take place on May 3, 2020 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. 

“Adversity often challenges us to find new ways of doing things, and this pandemic is certainly no exception,” said Tara Aesquivel, Executive Director. “Thanks to Maestro Izcaray, and the remarkable AYS Board of Directors, we’ve been able to pivot quickly and creatively, to produce a virtual gala that not only enables us to continue fundraising, but also advances the AYS mission to inspire the future of classical music.”

AYS provides fellowships to virtuosic young adults and presents exceptional, innovative, and free concerts to the Los Angeles community. The virtual gala program will also feature a solo performance of “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla by AYS Principal Cellist Alex Mansour, a graduate student at USC’s Thornton School of Music. Harpist Alyssa Katahara will also perform Marcel Grandjany’s Rhapsodie, and pianist Wan Rosalind Wong will perform Claude Debussy’s Etude 6 pour les huit doigts.

AYS Korngold Commission artists – violinist Charles Yang, composer Kris Bowers, and composer Fil Eisler – will reunite for a discussion about their experience composing a concerto for orchestra with AYS. The conversation will be facilitated by Starr Parodi, Los Angeles-based composer, pianist, and President of the Alliance for Women Film Composers. The AYS Korngold Commission Project unites great composers of film with top classical soloists to create and premiere new works.

Also appearing on the virtual gala program is Maxine Banks, one of L.A.’s premiere caterers, who will give a cooking demonstration, and comic-magician Matt Marcy, known for his original, comedy illusions. In 1997 he was named by the Academy of Magical Arts (The Magic Castle) as its top ranking young magician when he was just 20 years old.

For Calendar Section


American Youth Symphony

Carlos Izcaray, Music Director

Alyssa Katahara, harp

Alex Mansour, Cello

Wan Rosalind Wong, piano 

Maxine Banks, caterer and event producer

Matt Marcy, Comic-magician

When: Virtual Gala: Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. PST, 7:00 p.m. EST

Online silent auction: Sunday – Saturday, May 3 – 9, 2020

Where: www.AYSymphony.org/gala or Facebook and YouTube @aysymphony


Carlos IZCARAY: Geometric Unity

Claude DEBUSSY: Etude 6 pour les huit doigts

Marcel GRANDJANY: Rhapsodie

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.

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. https://aysymphonyorg.dream.press/


American Youth Symphony