“CYSO is a place where I can strengthen my skills as a musician. It has helped me grow, and I love spending time making music and learning each week.”

Emma, Debut Orchestra


CYSO programs have been suspended in response to COVID-19 health concerns, but auditions are still happening! Check the individual Orchestra, Jazz, and Steelpan pages below for more information.

Have you dreamed of playing in CYSO? Make that dream a reality—New student auditions for the 2020-2021 season are now open!

New this year, you can now register to audition for any of our on-site programs—orchestra, steelpan, and jazz! No matter the ensemble, we provide young musicians with the tools they need to grow and thrive. Students learn from the city’s top educators and collaborate with young people who share their passion for music.

Auditions take place each spring at our offices in Chicago’s Loop. Ensembles are open to young people ages 6-18 and need-based financial assistance is available for all programs.

WHY ORCHESTRA? While individual instruction is vital to students’ musical development, ensemble playing challenges them to grow in new and different ways. CYSO is a learning environment like no other, bringing youth from across the Chicago region together to collaborate and create. Orchestra skills are fundamental in and out of rehearsal; Leadership, self-confidence, teamwork, and resilience are critical as young people grow into future leaders. In fact, CYSO graduates can be found at the top of every field, including in nearly every major orchestra in the United States!

CYSO Membership


CYSO membership is both a privilege and a responsibility.  Students have an opportunity to create wonderful musical memories and experiences that they will carry with them for a lifetime.  As members, students and families are asked to maintain CYSO’s high standards.