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
August 01, 2017
Kaiso Steel Orchestra at Jesse White Park
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August 02, 2017
Kaiso Steel Orchestra at Bradley Park
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August 03, 2017
Kaiso Steel Orchestra at Olympia Park
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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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Director of Strings Daniella Valdez Interviewed

CYSO Director of String Ensembles Daniella Valdez was recently featured on city guide site Voyage Chicago. In the interview, Valdez talks about her role at CYSO and how an elementary school music program influenced her to become an educator. “Public school music shaped me, kept me excited about going to school, made forever friends and taught me the art of …
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Thank You for a Fantastic 70th Anniversary Season!

Our 70th anniversary season has officially come to an end. From high-profile performances, exciting collaborations, new leadership, and more, it’s definitely been a year to remember. This season CYSO expanded our programs to include two new on-site ensembles: Philharmonic Orchestra, an advanced ensemble for primarily high school students, and the new high school-level Jazz Orchestra. Longtime Associate Conductor Terrance Malone Gray was tapped to lead …
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CYSO Tour: Czech Radio Interview

During our tour stop in Prague back in June, percussionist Frederick McClure and CYSO Executive Director Susan Lape sat down for an interview with Czech Radio prior to our concert Dvořák Hall. Brush up on your Czech and listen to the interview below!    

CYSO Tour: Unity Through Music

As we plan the experiences students will participate in on tour, allowing them the chance to engage with peers from the country we’re visiting is always high on the list. Violist Xinru Li writes about two experiences from our 2017 Tour of Central Europe where CYSO students had the opportunity to meet other young musicians from Prague and a fellow touring youth orchestra …
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