American Youth Symphony currently offers four fellowships that provide professional development training above and beyond the rigorous performance opportunities available to all orchestra members.  AYS is dedicated to bolstering future generations of orchestral musicians, and offers these fellowships in recognition of the broad range of skills needed to succeed as professionals. Each fellowship provides career-specific elements of education, responsibility and leadership experience. AYS musicians in these paid, season-long fellowships develop skills and self-sufficiency to sustain their careers in the ever-changing music industry. Learn more about the fellowships, our fellows, and their recent projects below:

The Concertmaster Fellowship offers the crucial professional development necessary to be the leading musician of an orchestra. This Fellowship includes collaborating on AYS’ community engagement initiatives, which involves programming music for several community chamber concerts. AYS Music Director, Carlos Izcaray, provides guidance and mentorship for the Concertmaster Fellow.

The Orchestra Management Fellowship offers hands-on experience with orchestra management and responsibilities, including audition assistance, music preparation, orchestra library maintenance, rehearsal/concert production, professional development opportunities for the orchestra, and general program administration. This Fellow develops valuable knowledge and experience towards a career in concert production.

The Creative Fellowship offers an opportunity to one AYS member to learn aspects of program curation compose new works for AYS ensembles. The Creative Fellow is mentored by AYS Music Director, Carlos Izcaray, in composition and conducting.  This new fellowship piloted in the 2020/21 season.

The Musician Citizen Fellow develops leadership in the use of classical music to better one’s community. The Fellow plans a concert exploring the intersection of classical music and community engagement, building awareness of a locally-important cause. 

Meet Our Fellows

Gallia Kastner, Concertmaster Fellow

Gallia Kastner is a Masters 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.


Audition Prep for Violin Video Series – 2021

Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto – October 2019

Hannah Chou, Orchestra Management Fellow

Violinist Hannah Chou began her musical studies at the age of five in Fremont, California. Chou is currently a graduate student at UCLA, pursuing a master’s degree in Violin Performance with Varty Manouelian on a full scholarship. Other primary teachers include Yuan-Qing Yu, Mikhail Kopelman, and John Chisholm. Previously, she received a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and Music Cognition from Northwestern University. In her orchestral career, Chou has served principal positions and performed in various ensembles including the Sarasota Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and New World Symphony. Her extensive experience in the industry sparked an interest in music management and led her to become the current Orchestra Management Fellow of the American Youth Symphony in addition to playing in the violin section. As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Chou is currently the first violinist of the VEM Quartet, UCLA’s graduate string quartet in residence. Along with performing, she shares a passion for teaching students of all ages coming from diverse backgrounds.


Read our Musician Spotlight on Hannah on our blog. 

Alex Mansour, Creative Fellow

Alexander Mansour is a composer, pianist, and cellist from Los Angeles, California. His music is fascinated with the lyricism of romantic expression, dramatic juxtaposition of disparate harmonies, and dynamic narrative structures. As a cellist, Alex serves as principal of American Youth Symphony, and has joined the New York String Orchestra Seminar for their Christmas concerts at Carnegie Hall. He has also appeared on NPR’s “From the Top”. He has studied with Katinka Kleijn (CSO), and during an exchange in London, with Richard Lester (Royal College of Music). Read more about Alex on his website: https://www.alexmansourmusic.com/


A Thousand Cranes premiered on January 9, 2021

Candlelight premiered on December 24, 2020

Bree Fotheringham, Citizen Musician Fellow

Violinist Bree Fotheringham is a dedicated artist and advocate for classical music in the 21st century. As a soloist, she has garnered top prizes in numerous competitions and has appeared with the Utah Symphony and the Colburn Zipper Orchestra, among others. An enthusiastic chamber musician, Fotheringham was awarded the Grand Prize at the 2018 North American Recovered Voices Chamber Music Competition and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Noah Bendix-Balgley, Andrew Marriner, Clive Greensmith, She-e Wu, and Jason Vieux. She has served as concertmaster of the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra and associate concertmaster of the Colburn Orchestra and the American Youth Symphony. She was one of nine musicians selected to be an Orchestral Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and has performed under the baton of notable conductors including Valery Gergiev, Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Marin Alsop.

Fotheringham is passionate about community engagement and envisions a world where classical music concerts are ones that are invigorating and inclusive experiences shared by all members of the community. Prior to receiving the AYS Citizen Musician Fellowship, she has performed dozens of community-focused concerts as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician, and played an active role in creating engaging programs for the Colburn Orchestra outreach concerts. In 2018, she was an artist-in-residence at “Street Symphony”, performing concerts for those directly affected by homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles.

Fotheringham studied violin in Utah with Eugene Watanabe, Founder and Artistic Director of the Gifted Music School. She is currently a senior at the Colburn Conservatory of Music where she studies with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair.