CARLOS IZCARAY was appointed Music Director of the American Youth Symphony in May 2016, and is also Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Praised by the international press, he won top prizes at the 2007 Aspen Music Festival and later at the 2008 Toscanini International Conducting Competition. Since then he has appeared with numerous ensembles across five continents and is now firmly established as one of the leading conductors of his generation. Throughout his career, Izcaray has shown special interest and prowess in tackling some of the most complex scores in the symphonic repertoire, while also championing the historically informed approach to works from past eras.
On the symphonic platform he has led the St. Louis, Alabama, and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphonies, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin, Malmö Symfoniorkester, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, Orchestra Regionale dell’Emilia-Romagna, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Macedonian Philharmonic, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Bahia Symphony Orchestra, Salta Symphony Orchestra, Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, and Orquesta Filarmónica Nacional de Venezuela, among others.
Izcaray is equally at home with opera repertoire, receiving rave reviews for his performances at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Utah Opera, International Opera Festival Alejandro Granda in Peru, and in particular at the Wexford Festival Opera, where he has led many productions since the opening of Ireland’s National Opera House. His 2010 performances of Virginia by Mercadante won the Best Opera prize at the Irish Theatre Awards.
A strong believer of supporting the younger generations, Carlos has worked extensively with the world’s top talents and leading music institutions, including his country’s own El Sistema. In 2014, he led a tour of the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia, and he has additionally worked with the Fundación Batuta, Neojiba in Brazil, London Schools Symphony Orchestra, and Cambridge University Music Society, where he has also taught conducting workshops. Summer 2015 marked his debut at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where he led a performance with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and he also conducted the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música in the final round of the International Cello Competition Guilhermina Suggia.
A distinguished instrumentalist himself, Izcaray has been featured as concert soloist and chamber musician worldwide, and served as Principal Cello and Artistic President of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra prior to dedicating his career fully to the podium. Increasingly active as a composer, Izcaray’s most recent orchestral piece, Cota Mil, was premiered by the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas.
Carlos was born into a family of several artistic generations in Caracas. At the age of three he was enrolled in Venezuela’s public system of youth orchestras, continuing at the Emil Friedman Conservatory, where he was a boy chorister as well as an instrumentalist. He studied conducting with his father since he was a teenager, and went on to become a distinguished fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. Izcaray is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New World School of the Arts, and Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He is a dual citizen of Spain and Venezuela, and divides his time between Birmingham (AL) and Berlin.