The acclaimed American Youth Symphony (AYS), one of the nation’s leading professional training orchestras for musicians ages 15 to 27, launches its 49th season with a free concert featuring the highly anticipated West Coast premiere of Timothy Andres’ Bathtub Shrine, Tchaikovsky’s elegant Variations on a Rococo Theme, showcasing rising star Allan Steele, AYS’s Principal Cello, and Berlioz’ epic Symphony fantastique on Sunday, October 6, 2013, 7 pm, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Music Director Alexander Treger, currently in his 16th season leading AYS, conducts the 106-member orchestra, noted for its innovative programming and inspiring performances.
Also featured is a free pre-concert screening at 5:30 pm of the film Keeping Score: Symphony fantastique, part of the San Francisco Symphony’s critically applauded Keeping Score film series, which, narrated by Michael Tilson Thomas, tells the story of Berlioz’ purportedly opium-fueled obsession with Irish actress Harriet Smithson for whom his love, passion and jealousy drove the groundbreaking symphony’s creation. Berlioz’ work was debuted at the Paris Conservatoire in 1830, quickly becoming an audience and orchestra favorite.
“The program is designed to highlight the exceptional talents of the orchestra as well as to provide our musicians with critical training in some of the major orchestral repertoire and contemporary works,” says Treger, who during the 2013-14 season leads a total of five free concerts as well AYS’s annual gala concert.
Andres – hailed by the Los Angeles Times for music that demonstrates “a strong sense of building on classical music tradition, while also moving that tradition into a new and hip place” – composed Bathtub Shrine on a commission by the Yale Symphony Orchestra as a playful response to the widely reverberating acoustics of Yales’ Woosley Hall, which Andre’s describes as having “a staggering 13-second reverberation…the effect of a giant bathroom.” He also wrote the eight-minute piece in homage to the orchestra’s “fierce music-making” and warm “camaraderie”.
AYS has trained more than 2,300 musicians since it was founded, and many of its alumni hold principal positions with the world’s top orchestras, the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, among them. Additionally, AYS’s free concert series, which has drawn more than a quarter of a million people to the Royce Hall since its inception, provides vital music outreach to the community.
This season AYS also appears on the “Sundays Live at LACMA” concert series on October 20, 2013; presents “The Elfman Project II,” the continuation of a three-year exploration of the composer’s brilliant music, on November 24, 2013; showcases the irrepressible music of composer Jefferson Friedman on February 9, 2014; hosts the “Springtime in Paris” gala on March 9, 2013; and wraps the season with “The Alumni Project,” where fellows will share a stand with celebrated alumni in Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony. This season finale concert will also feature gifted young violinist Nigel Armstrong, a finalist in the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Competition and former AYS Concertmaster.
Reservations are recommended but not required for the American Youth Symphony’s free concert at Royce Hall. Royce Hall is located on the campus of UCLA at 10745 Dickson Plaza in Westwood, CA, 90095. For more information, please call (310) 470-2332 or log on to www.AYSymphony.org.