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
April 22, 2018
Symphony Orchestra Community Concert
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April 24, 2018
CPS Education Concerts: Philharmonic orchestra
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April 27, 2018
Illinois Council of Orchestras Townhall: “The Role of Youth Orchestras in Developing a Diverse Orchestral Landscape”
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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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Philharmonic Orchestra and Classical Kids LIVE! Sell Out Chicago Premiere of “Gershwin’s Magic Key”

CYSO’s Philharmonic Orchestra recently teamed up with Classical Kids Music Education’s popular Classical Kids LIVE! for the sold-out Chicagoland premiere of Gershwin’s Magic Key. This theatrically-staged performance combined live actors and an educational symphonic concert to celebrate the work of legendary American composer George Gershwin. Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Maestro Terrance Gray, performed more than twenty of Gershwin’s most popular …
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Four CYSO Students Named to Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra

The 2018 National Youth Orchestra roster was announced this week, and we’re thrilled to share that four CYSO students are included in this year’s group!  Congratulations to Quincey Trojanowski, bassoon; Sam Stout, trumpet; Megan Martin, trombone; and Nick Jack Agliata, who will serve as apprentice orchestra librarian and plays bassoon in Philharmonic Orchestra.  These four students will join more than 100 other …
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Audition Tips from CYSO Conductors

Auditioning is never easy, even for the most seasoned musicians. Whether you’re hoping for a spot in Preparatory Strings or the New York Philharmonic, playing in front of strangers who are there to judge your performance can be a nerve-wracking experience. Thankfully, performing under pressure often gets easier with practice, and there are plenty of things you can do to …
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2018 Concerto Competition Winners

We’re pleased to announce this year’s Concerto Competition winners for Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, and Concert Orchestra. Competition is fierce every season, but this year’s performances were particularly accomplished—for the first time, judges selected co-winners or honorable mentions in every category. Concerto Competition winners will perform at CYSO concerts during the 2018-2019 season, so stay tuned for details as concert programs …
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