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 500 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, multiple steel orchestras, and supplemental programs including chamber music ensembles, music theory, 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
September 22, 2016
Masterclass Series: Getting Into College 101
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October 05, 2016
Symphony Orchestra Performance at Ear Taxi Festival
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November 06, 2016
Philharmonic Orchestra Fall Concert
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Discover Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras


CYSO serves more than 500 students ages 6-18 through four string orchestras, three string orchestras, steel orchestras, 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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Printable Season Calendar

We can hardly contain our excitement at all the amazing things coming up for CYSO’s 70th anniversary season! From world premieres to big time performances to new ensembles and new venues, the next 10 months are bursting with exciting events and performances by CYSO musicians. Make sure you’re in the know all season long by downloading your very own printable season calendar now! …
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New CYSO Merch

Just in time for the new season, two great new products were recently added to the CYSO shop! We’re thrilled to now offer heavy duty CYSO stickers, perfect for use on cars, instrument cases, laptops and more. These 4″ x 6″ silkscreened stickers are weather-resistant and designed for heavy-use areas.   Perfect for our smallest musicians, the ever-popular CYSO hoodies now …
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Executive Director Joshua Simonds’ Top 5 Moments with CYSO

Today is Executive Director Joshua Simonds’ last day with CYSO. After a total of 12 seasons, first as General Manager and then as Executive Director, Joshua sat down to share the top five moments he’ll remember most from his time at CYSO. It’s been quite a ride since 2003! We thank Joshua for all he’s done for CYSO and wish …
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CYSO Jazz Orchestra Director Pharez Whitted Profiled in Chicago Tribune

CYSO’s new Jazz Orchestra Director, Pharez Whitted, is not only a respected music educator, he’s also a gifted musician and bandleader in his own right. Whitted was recently profiled by the Chicago Tribune about his new role at CYSO, some of his collaborators, and upcoming performances. “Few Chicago musician-educators are more qualified than Whitted to build the new band, for he commands a …
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