The Asia America Youth Symphony (AAYS) is one of the premiere youth symphony orchestras of southern California. It prides itself in providing a unique opportunity and experience for its members. Our music director, maestro David Benoit envisioned giving youngsters an environment that was professional in as many ways as possible. The orchestra started as a youth orchestra in 2001 as an additional project of the Asia America Symphony Association, which had a professional orchestra. The two orchestras, the professional and youth were kept primarily separate, but over the years, we saw that it was very beneficial to have some of the more advanced youth members to have the opportunity to play with the professional orchestra.
Over time, AASA moved more and more focus from the main professional orchestra to the youth orchestra. Finally in 2013, we decided to merge the two orchestras and focus on the youth. The Asia America Youth Symphony is now primarily a youth orchestra, but for our major performances, we will augment the youth with some professional musicians. This arrangement is the best of all worlds because it allows for a very high quality orchestra and it gives the youth an opportunity to play in major venues and to perform with professional mentors.
In performing a wide array of musical repertoire, students are challenged to master diverse musical styles ranging from classical to jazz and film scores. In addition, students are encouraged to compose their own original composition for the orchestra. Eligibility extends to music students age 24 and under who play any orchestral instrument with reasonable proficiency and who are interested in classical and jazz music.
Auditions for the Asia America Youth Symphony’s upcoming concert season will be taking place on September 15-17 for returning members and September 22-24 for new members.