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 nearly 600 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, multiple steel orchestras, 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
May 27, 2017
Percussion Ensemble Concert
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June 03, 2017
Philharmonic Orchestra Spring Concert
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June 05, 2017
CYSO Beer Benefit
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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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Glenn Kotche Shares his Inspiration for “Infinite Tree”

Ahead of this Sunday’s world premiere at our spring Orchestra Hall concert, composer-in-residence Glenn Kotche sat down with Symphony Orchestra students to share the inspiration behind his new concerto, Infinite Tree. With eclectic influences ranging from touring with Wilco to the podcast Radiolab, the conversation is a fascinating glimpse into how the piece came to be. Tickets for our May …
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Ending the Season on a High Note

The last month of the season is always a busy time at CYSO. Over the past few weeks, we’ve welcomed countless audience members to some of our spring performances, including 1100 CPS third grades at the Philharmonic Orchestra Education Concert and nearly 1000 audience members at the Debut Orchestra/Preparatory Strings and Concert Orchestra/Accelerando Strings spring performances, all at Studebaker Theater. Jazz Orchestra also …
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Meet the Conductor: Malika Green, Director of Steel Orchestras and Community Engagement Coordinator

As Director of Steel Orchestras, Malika Green oversees CYSO’s four on-site steelpan ensembles, along with the new Neighborhood Steel program. In her 6th season with CYSO, she also serves as Community Engagement Coordinator, helping CYSO increase access to music for students and families across Chicago. We sat down with Green to learn more about her journey from pianist to steelpan performer to music …
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Good Advice from Graduating Seniors

By the time they graduate from high school, many CYSO students have been playing an instrument for up to a decade, and some have even been in CYSO ensembles for that long (or longer!) as well. With so many years of experience as musicians and orchestra members, who better to give advice to new CYSO recruits? We asked this year’s graduating …
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