February 29, 2008
John Williams Conducts American Youth Symphony
43rd Annual Gala welcomes new AYS president David Newman by Marilee Bradford
LOS ANGELES—Celebrated composer John Williams will conduct the American Youth Symphony (AYS) in a concert of his film music on March 23, 6:00 p.m., at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Los Angeles Music Center.
The concert is part of the 43rd Annual Gala celebration and fundraiser for the AYS, which is one of the most prestigious music training programs for pre-professional musicians.
Williams, perhaps the best-known and most awarded film composer in Hollywood history, has gained celebrity status among the newest generation of concertgoers. Selections scheduled for performance include his music from the Harry Potter films, the Star Wars films and E.T. Featured violinist and resident AYS music director Alexander Treger will perform violin solos from Fiddler on the Roof and Schindler's List.
A gala dinner following the concert will welcome noted composer David Newman as the new president of the AYS.
One of film music's most accomplished composers, Newman's many box-office hits include such critically acclaimed dramas as Brokedown Palace and Hoffa; top-grossing comedies such as Galaxy Quest, The Nutty Professor and War of the Roses; and the animated films Ice Age, The Brave Little Toaster and Anastasia – the latter for which he earned an Academy Award nomination.
Equally active in the concert hall, Newman recently composed a six-movement Concerto for Winds for the Long Beach (Calif.) Symphony Orchestra and has conducted orchestras all over the country. His penchant for film music in concert is admired throughout the music community, and he has created and conducted film score tributes in such prestigious venues as Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
Newman began his association with AYS in the 1960s as a young violinist in the orchestra under the direction of Mehli Mehta. Son of Golden Age film composer Alfred Newman, Newman is passionate about the youth music scene in Southern California. "In this age of a digital world," says Newman, "we must support our musical heritage and to make sure the legacies of orchestral works and performances are passed on to new generations." Newman's soprano-daughter Diana is currently a violinist in the AYS and recently sang Mahler's Symphony No. 4 in concert with the orchestra.
According to AYS Associate Managing Director Natalia Staneva, "David Newman brings a fresh energy and vision" to the 43-year-old organization. "He is the ideal leader for us."
Newman is no stranger to heading non-profit organizations in the arts. In the 1980s, he was Music Director of the Sundance Institute's music preservation program, and last year he was elected president of The Film Music Society, a 35-year-old public benefit corporation established by entertainment professionals to preserve and restore film music and its history.
For AYS gala concert and dinner tickets, or for more information, call (310) 451-3400 or visit http://www.aysymphony.org.
©2008 Marilee Bradford