The mission of the American Youth Symphony is to increase the availability of classical music and music education throughout Los Angeles. The American Youth Symphony was founded in 1959, and organized in its current form in 1964 by Mehli Mehta. AYS has attained a reputation as one of the nation's most prestigious artistic institutions for young people, a rigorous training program for some of the country's best pre-professional musical artists and one of Southern California's most honored cultural treasures. Talent and potential are the only criteria for admittance to the orchestra. Countless AYS alumni are currently members of some of the finest professional orchestras worldwide.
Through its renowned orchestral program, composer residency, conducting assistantship, and other programs, AYS is committed to offering premium artistic opportunities to the most qualified young musicians, and to providing a vast and growing spectrum of outreach and musical education activities to all sectors of the public.