Orchestra Audition FAQ

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the CYSO Audition process. These answers will provide you with a good idea of what to expect when you come for a CYSO audition.


When are the auditions held?

All auditions for new students are held on various dates throughout the month of April. Audition dates are announced in mid-January each year. Students may register for an audition through our website at that time. The earlier you register, the more likely you are to receive your requested audition time and date. Auditions always fill up so be sure to register early!


Where are the auditions held?

All auditions are held in the CYSO rehearsal facilities in the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Auditions are held on the 8th floor.  

The Fine Arts Building’s downtown loop location makes it very convenient to arrive via public transportation. There are also several parking garages near the Fine Arts Building. CYSO patrons receive discounted rates at our preferred parking lot – Millennium Garages’ Grant Park South – located at 325 S. Michigan Avenue between Jackson Blvd and Van Buren St. Get detailed information on public transportation, driving directions & parking. 


Are there warm-up rooms once I arrive at the audition site?

Yes. There is one large communal warm-up room.


When should I arrive?

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your audition time. It is very important to make sure you allow yourself extra travel time and look out for any possible traffic or weather delays.


Should I memorize the music?

Memorization is not required. If you would like to memorize your solos, you are welcome to do so.


How long is the audition?

An average audition can last anywhere from about 5 to 8 minutes except for percussion auditions which last approximately 10 minutes. During your audition, you may be stopped by the panel and asked to go on to another solo or excerpt.  You may also be given some instruction regarding what you just played and asked to play the solo or excerpt again. These situations are all common.


What should I wear?

Wear nice dress clothes that are comfortable for you to perform in. Remember that this is the first impression you will make on those who will evaluate you. It is also a good idea to practice in the clothes you are planning to wear at least once before your audition.


When will I find out if I have been accepted?

All audition results will be announced before the end of May via email. All auditioning students will receive correspondence, regardless of outcome. Be sure to enter you email address correctly on your Audition Registration Form. Email is CYSO’s primary mode of communication with students and parents.


When and where are rehearsals held?

All orchestra rehearsals are held in CYSO rehearsal spaces 833, 825 & Curtiss Hall at 410 S. Michigan Avenue, the Fine Arts Building (FAB). Enrichment Programs are held in various CYSO rooms at FAB and in various Roosevelt University (RU) rooms at 430 S. Michigan Avenue.

2020-2021 Saturdays

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Curtiss Hall
Overture Strings (OS) 9:00 – 10:15 AM
Preparatory Strings (PS) 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Accelerando Strings (AS) 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 833
Debut Orchestra (DO) 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Concert Orchestra (CO) 12:30 – 3:00 PM

Steel Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 825
The Jumbies 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Groove Steel Ensemble 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Junior Steel Orchestra 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Kaiso Steel Orchestra 3:15 – 5:15 PM

2020-2021 Sundays

Orchestra Rehearsals – FAB Room 833
Philharmonic Orchestra (PO) 12:00 – 2:30 PM
Symphony Orchestra (SO) 3:00 – 6:00 PM or 3:00 – 8:00 PM

Enrichment Programs – Various Rooms
Composition Seminar (SO & PO) 10:45 – 11:45 AM
Chamber Music (SO)* 12:30 – 2:30 PM
Chamber Music (PO)* 3:00 – 5:00 PM

*Both Chamber Music sessions include Percussion Ensemble which is required of all Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra percussionists.

What are the requirements for membership?

Requirements vary for each orchestra, enrichment program, and by instrument. Visit our audition requirements and CYSO membership requirements for details.

If you have other questions not covered here, contact us at (312)-939-2207.