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.

Auditions for the 2021-2022 season are now closed.

Occasionally CYSO holds recruiting auditions through the summer to fill open spots in select ensembles. If you are interested in being considered for a recruiting audition for the upcoming season, please complete the Audition Interest Form below. Once your form has been received, CYSO will contact you if there are openings for your instrument. If a position does not become available for the upcoming season, we will notify you when new student auditions for the 2022-2023 season open in January 2022.


  • Orchestras are open to students who will be entering 1st-12th grade.
  • Audition registration applications are due by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, April 7, 2021
  • Audition videos are due by 11:59 PM on Monday, April 12, 2021
  • Rehearsals are held on Saturday (elementary, intermediate, advanced ensembles) and Sunday (most advanced ensembles).
  • All students are required to prepare two contrasting pieces for their audition. To be considered for the advanced Sunday ensembles, students must also prepare the CYSO-provided excerpts. See audition requirements for complete details.
  • Results are announced via email in late-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