Press Release: American Youth Symphony performs How to Train Your Dragon in Live-to-Picture Concert

American Youth Symphony performs How to Train Your Dragon in Live-to-Picture Concert

American Youth Symphony honors composer John Powell at annual Hollywood Project concert and dinner
November 6th, at 4:00 p.m. at UCLA’s Royce Hall
Tickets: $18, Free for members
Please visit www.AYSymphony.org to reserve tickets

(October 20, 2021, Los Angeles, CA) The American Youth Symphony’s (AYS) annual Hollywood Project concert, to be held on November 6th at UCLA’s Royce Hall, will feature the orchestra led by Music Director Carlos Izcaray performing John Powell’s Oscar®-nominated score to DreamWorks Animation’s’ How to Train Your Dragon and Mason Bates’ Philharmonia Fantastique, a 20-minute animated film that flies through the instruments of the orchestra to explore the age-old connection of creativity and technology. Tickets are $18, free for members, and can be reserved at https://www.aysymphony.org/13-annual-hollywood-project-concert/   

A thrilling experience for all ages, DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon is a captivating and original story about a young Viking named Hiccup, who defies tradition when he befriends one of his deadliest foes – a ferocious dragon he calls Toothless. Together, these unlikely heroes must fight against all odds to save both their worlds. “Tenderness, beauty and exhilaration are the movie’s great strengths.” – New York Times. Powell received his first Academy Award nomination for his acclaimed score.

Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra is a 20-minute multi-media concerto from Grammy-winning composer Mason Bates in collaboration with a multi-Oscar-winning creative team. Guided by a magical Sprite, the film shows violin strings vibrate, brass valves slice air, and drum heads resonate. Imaginatively blending traditional and modern animation styles, it is a kinetic and compelling guide to the orchestra that engagingly illustrates the intricacies of how instruments work individually and collectively to produce such a huge range of sound. By the culmination of the piece, the orchestra has overcome its differences of sections and sound to demonstrate unity from diversity in a spectacular finale. 

Following the concert, AYS will host the annual Hollywood Project dinner, and will honor the musical achievements of composer John Powell. Dinner begins at 7:00 pm and reservations start at $450. Proceeds support the American Youth Symphony, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. RSVP for the dinner here, or by calling 310-470-2332.

Started by AYS Board Member and composer David Newman, the annual Hollywood Project dinner honors the life and work of legendary film composers. The Hollywood Project concerts have been widely praised for showcasing the technical prowess and musical maturity of the AYS orchestra, with Justin Craig of Film Score Monthly writing: “The American Youth Symphony stands high, mastering the challenge of performing film music with all its unconventional meters and rhythms. Don’t be deceived by the label of ‘youth’ orchestra; the AYS is the real deal.” Past concerts have featured works of several luminaries in the film industry, including John Williams, Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Giacchino, and Alan Silvestri. 


For concert and dinner reservations visit www.AYSymphony.org or call 310-470-2332.  


For Calendar Section

What: How to Train Your Dragon in Concert with Mason Bates’ Philharmonia Fantastique

Who: American Youth Symphony

Carlos Izcaray, Music Director

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

When: Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Admission: $18, free for AYS members – reserve your seat at www.AYSymphony.org or call 310-470-2332

Program: Mason Bates: Philharmonia Fantastique John Powell: How to Train Your Dragon 


About John Powell

A native of London, Powell was an accomplished violinist as a child, wrote music for commercials out of school, and assisted composer Patrick Doyle in the early 1990s. He moved to the U.S. in 1997, where he worked on numerous projects for Hans Zimmer and his film music company Remote Control. He co-wrote the score for Antz with Harry Gregson-Williams, and quickly became one of the most desirable, versatile, and exciting composers in town.


John Powell was catapulted into the realm of A-list composers by displaying an entirely original voice with his oft-referenced scores to the first installment of Matt Damon’s Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Identity from 2002. He has become the go-to writer for family animated films, scoring such hits as Shrek (co-written with Harry Gregson-Williams), Chicken Run (co-written with Harry Gregson-Williams), Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Bolt, Rio, Happy Feet, Happy Feet Two and the two first installments of Kung Fu Panda (co-written with Hans Zimmer). His pulsating action music has provided the fuel for Hancock, Green Zone, Stop Loss, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Italian Job. His music has also sweetened the romance of Two Weeks Notice and P.S.: I Love You. In 2006 his music empowered X-Men: The Last Stand, lent tenderness to I Am Sam and gripping, real-time drama to United 93.

His infectious score for How to Train Your Dragon earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Powell has also lent his voice to the score of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Rio 2, directed by Carlos Saldanha, and DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2. His work can be found in Warner Bros.’ Pan starring Hugh Jackman, Universal Pictures’ action-thriller Jason Bourne starring Matt Damon and Fox’s Oscar-nominated animated feature Ferdinand. Most recent for Powell was Disney’s highly anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, which gave him the opportunity to collaborate with Maestro John Williams.

Most recently, John Powell’s music can be heard in the critically acclaimed final installment of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, directed by Dean DeBlois.

In addition to his numerous film scores of all genres, John Powell has also written concert works for choir and orchestra. A selection of these has been released in June of last year with the album “Hubris – Choral Works by John Powell” – including his deeply moving work A Prussian Requiem.


About Mason Bates

Composer of the Grammy-winning opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Mason Bates is imaginatively transforming the way classical music is created and experienced as a composer, DJ, and curator. During his term as the first composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he presented a diverse array of artists on his KC Jukebox using immersive production and stagecraft.  Championed by legendary conductors from Riccardo Muti to Michael Tilson Thomas, his symphonic music is the first to receive widespread acceptance for its unique integration of electronic sounds. He was named the second most-performed composer of his generation (to John Adams) in a recent survey of American music. Bates has also composed for film, including Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. A diverse artist exploring the ways classical music integrates into contemporary culture, he serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


About DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon

Since 2010, when DreamWorks Animation’s soaring epic How to Train Your Dragon introduced audiences to the unlikely friendship of an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon, the astonishing adventures of Hiccup and Toothless have captivated fans across three blockbuster films that have grossed more than $1.6 billion. 

Working from a single narrative tapestry, the feature trilogy’s storytelling has gone hand in hand with groundbreaking television and digital entertainment that draws audiences deep into DreamWorks Animation’s imaginative lore and intricately built worlds. Rooted in stories that are as sweeping as they are intimate, one of the most beloved animated franchises in history—lauded with multiple Academy Award® nominations and a Golden Globe Award for the second filmed chapter—will bring its courageous tales and dreamlike flights into fans’ lives for years to come.


About AYS

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 in this beautiful art form. https://aysymphony.org/ 

Carlos Izcaray is one of the leading conductors of his generation, as well as an emerging composer. He is Music Director for AYS and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. He is now in his sixth 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 the world over, appearing with numerous ensembles across five continents. 


About Universal Live Entertainment 

Universal Live Entertainment partners with best-in-class entertainment companies to bring today’s most popular stories, characters and adventures to life in a city near you.  From larger-than-life touring shows to immersive, walk-through exhibitions and family entertainment centers, Universal’s world-class entertainment brands are delivered across the globe for families, friends and people of all ages to enjoy.  Productions include Jurassic World Live Tour, Jurassic World: The Exhibition, A Minions Perspective, DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition, Trolls LIVE!, film to live orchestra concerts and more. 


Universal Live Entertainment is a division of Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal.  With theme park destinations in California, Florida, Japan, Singapore and Beijing, Universal Parks & Resorts offers guests around the globe today’s most relevant and popular entertainment experiences.  Universal theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world’s most thrilling and technologically advanced film- and television-based attractions.  Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Japan.  In addition, the company has a license agreement with Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa and recently opened a theme park destination in Beijing this year called Universal Beijing Resort.