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.

Latest Media
Upcoming Shows & Events
January 24, 2018
ILMEA Conference Opening Night Concert with CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra
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January 29, 2018
Debut Orchestra Community Concert
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January 30, 2018
Jazz Orchestra Winter Combo Concert
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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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Executive Director Susan Lape Featured in Creative Careers Podcast

Executive Director Susan Lape sat down with the iCadenza Creative Careers podcast to discuss the career path that led her to CYSO. The episode, which explores what it means to be a creative professional in music, the arts, and business, and more, features a fascinating look at how Susan leveraged her love of music and performing into a career in arts administration. …
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CYSO Events Coming Up at IMEC 2018

January 24-27 is the annual Illinois Music Education Conference (IMEC) and CYSO is excited to have an expanded presence this year including performances, a panel discussion, reception, and, of course, our booth. Check out all the events we’ve got planned! 2018 IMEC Opening Night Concert Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 8:00 pm Peoria Civic Center | $5 admission CYSO’s Symphony …
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Behind the Scenes on Concert Night

Concert night for musicians is all at once nerve-wracking and endlessly exciting. Symphony Orchestra co-principal flute player Jenny Wang wrote about her experience behind the scenes as she prepared for the fall concert at Orchestra Hall. At the end of November, we had our Orchestra Hall concert, playing pieces by Tower, Shostakovich, Roustom, Boulanger, and Britten. I’ve been through a lot …
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Double Double Workshop 2017

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this year’s Double Double Workshop! We were so inspired to work with the many dedicated bassoon, oboe, and bass players, both CYSO students and other young musicians, who spent the day with us. We hope everyone left with some great tips and new techniques to improve their practice. A special thank you to …
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