CYSO Youth Symphony Chicago
About CYSO

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras has provided music education through orchestral programs and performance opportunities of the highest caliber since 1946.

CYSO serves more than 600 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, steel orchestras, jazz orchestra, and supplemental programs including chamber music ensembles and composition. CYSO musicians receive superb orchestral and chamber music instruction from Chicago’s most respected professional musicians, perform in the world’s greatest concert halls, and gain the self-confidence and discipline necessary for a successful future.

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Upcoming Shows & Events
June 21, 2018
CYSO Performance for Make Music Chicago
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Discover Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras


CYSO serves nearly 600 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, steel orchestras, jazz orchestra, and supplemental programs. Musicians receive superb instruction and gain the skills necessary for a successful future.

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CYSO auditions are open to students who will be high school seniors or younger. Auditions for the upcoming season happen each spring. Tuition assistance is available for all programs for families with financial need.

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The best way to experience CYSO is to attend an event! From our annual fundraising gala, free community concerts, performances at Symphony Center’s venerable Orchestra Hall, we offer something for everyone.

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CYSO alumni play in the world’s finest orchestras and ensembles, as well many other respected professions. Regardless of whether they pursues further music studies, CYSO students leave with skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

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Demarre & Anthony McGill on their Time with CYSO and Advice to Young Musicians

It’s been 5 years since CYSO last performed with Anthony & Demarre McGill. Back in 2012, we commissioned composer Joel Puckett to write Concerto Duo for Symphony Orchestra to perform with the McGills at our spring Orchestra Hall concert. Now we’ll be performing Concerto Duo alongside the new work by Michael Abels at our June 16 concert with the McGills. …
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Maestro Tinkham on Michael Abels’ Sparkling and Joyous “Winged Creatures”

CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra will accompany alums Anthony and Demarre McGill to perform the world premiere of composer Michael Abels’ Winged Creatures at the League of American Orchestras’ national conference on Thursday, June 14. Abels, who composed the score to the film Get Out, was commissioned by Cedille Records to write the piece specifically for the McGills and CYSO. It will …
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CYSO’s 2nd Annual Beer Benefit

Our second annual CYSO Beer Benefit headed to Logan Square’s Revolution Brewery on Monday, June 5th. With an animated crowd of parents, alumni, board members, and supporters, the event featured great beer and food, music from a Jazz Orchestra combo group, games, and lots of fun. The evening raised more than $12,300 to support CYSO’s music training and ensemble programs. …
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Symphony Orchestra Performance Praised by the Chicago Tribune

CYSO’s May 20 concert at Orchestra Hall included inspiring performances from more than 230 young musicians, including Symphony Orchestra, as well as Philharmonic Orchestra and members of Jazz Orchestra. With diverse pieces exploring the many meanings of America, the program featured a number of firsts: creating the first known recording of Duke Ellington’s Grand Slam Jam, the Chicago premiere of Dana Wilson’s Hold Fast to …
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