Orchestra Auditions

Our flagship program, CYSO orchestras include three string ensembles and four full orchestra ensembles (strings, winds, brass, percussion, harp). Students learn from some of Chicago’s most respected music educators and perform in top venues including Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall, Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, and Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

The deadline to audition for CYSO’s 2020-2021 orchestras has passed. Recruiting auditions are now being accepted.

CYSO will hold some auditions throughout the summer to fill any remaining spots in our orchestras. Fill out the form below if you’re interested in being considered for a recruiting audition and we will be in touch if there are openings for your instrument. 

If you do not have access to your instrument at home, don’t have access to a device to record your video, or have other challenges to recording an audition video, please reach out to Karen at kmari@cyso.org after submitting your registration to discuss alternative solutions.


  • Orchestras are open to students who will be entering 1st-12th grade.
  • Audition video submissions are due by 11:59PM on Sunday, April 26th.
  • Rehearsals are held on Saturday (elementary, intermediate, advanced ensembles) and Sunday (most advanced ensembles).
  • Students should prepare two contrasting pieces for their audition. To be considered for the advanced Sunday ensembles, students should also prepare the CYSO-provided excerpts. See audition requirements for complete details.
  • Results are announced via email by mid-June, and all students will be notified regardless of outcome.




Concert OrchestraDebut OrchestraAccelerando StringsPreparatory StringsOverture Strings


Symphony OrchestraPhilharmonic Orchestra


Additional enrichment program opportunities include chamber music, composition seminar, steel orchestras, masterclasses, and international touring. See the CYSO Program Guide for a full list of programs.

Questions about Orchestra Auditions? Contact Karen Mari at kmari@cyso.org or (312) 939-2207, ext. 250