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
May 22, 2018
CPS Education Concerts: Steel Orchestras
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May 26, 2018
Percussion Ensemble Concert
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June 03, 2018
Spring Philharmonic Orchestra Concert featuring CYSO’s Kaiso Steel Orchestra
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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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ICO Awards Parent Partners’ Karen Hoag as Volunteer of the Year

Illinois Council of Orchestras (ICO) has awarded Karen Hoag the Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of her exemplary service to CYSO over her many years of involvement with the Parent Partners. Karen has served as President of the CYSO Parent Partners since 2013, leading a team of volunteers who support the students, families, and staff of the organization. CYSO …
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Matea Valley High School’s Dr. Mark Liu to Receive CYSO Music Inspiration Award

CYSO’s Music Inspiration Award was created to honor school band and orchestra directors and private music teachers who inspire and encourage their students. This year’s recipient in Dr. Mark Liu, nominated by Symphony Orchestra’s Kimmy Chuang.  Dr. Liu is in his seventeenth year teaching high school orchestra. He currently teaches at Metea Valley High School, Indian Prairie School District 204, …
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2018 Student Award Winners

Each year, CYSO presents awards to students who have distinguished themselves throughout the season and during their time at CYSO. Chosen by our artistic and administrative staff, below are 2018’s award-winning students. Mollendorf Award Mollendorf Award is given to a graduating CYSO senior to support further musical study. It is given through an endowment fund by the late Jean Mollendorf, …
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Programming Americas: Maestro Tinkham on CYSO’s Spring Orchestra Hall Concert

This spring’s Orchestra Hall concert program brings together disparate voices exploring what it means to be an American. From immigrants drawn to a sense of rebirth in their new country, to a composer of color pushing back against segregation in life, and music, each composer is wrestling with finding, as Langston Hughes put it, “America to me.” Music Director Allen …
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