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
February 27, 2018
CPS Education Concerts: Steel Orchestras
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February 28, 2018
Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition Finals
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March 11, 2018
Philharmonic Orchestra performs Classic Kids Live’s “Gershwin’s Magic Key”
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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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2018 CYSO Gala: West Side Story Mambos the Night Away

The 2018 CYSO Gala: West Side Story on February 10 brought in a record $425,000 to support CYSO’s music training, education, and community engagement programs. Celebrating the energy of Bernstein’s American classic and the talent and achievements of CYSO’s student musicians, it was an evening to remember! Hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, more than 320 guests ascended the grand staircase …
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Beatrice Chen Featured on NPR’s From the Top

Violist Beatrice Chen was recently featured on NPR’s From the Top. The 14-year-old has been a member of CYSO since 2013 and currently serves as co-principal violist for Symphony Orchestra. In her segment, Bea performs works by Hindesmith, Bach, and Beethoven, and talks about performing with her brother Noah (also a member of Symphony Orchestra) and a recent concert at a …
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Violinist Bryana Martinez Crosses Musical Genres with Orchestra and Mariachi

Bryana Martinez, a sophomore at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, is violinist in CYSO’s Philharmonic Orchestra and a very busy young musician. In addition to playing with CYSO and in her school band, Bryana also performs as a violinist and singer in Mariachi Herencia de Mexico, a 18-member group of high school-age musicians that perform traditional mariachi songs.  Bryana …
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CYSO Featured on WGN’s Adelante Chicago

CYSO Executive Director Susan Lape and Music Director Allen Tinkham were recently interviewed on WGN’s Adelante Chicago with host Lourdes Garcia, who will also emcee the upcoming CYSO Gala on February 10. Susan and Allen discussed the gala’s celebration of the music of West Side Story in honor of the Leonard Bernstein centennial, as well as our outreach to young musicians …
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