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.

Video auditions for the upcoming season are now be accepted!

While in-person programming is suspended in response to COVID-19 health concerns, we are excited to roll out video auditions for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. Sign up for your audition below and specific information on how to submit an audition video will be emailed to you.


  • Orchestras are open to students who will be entering 1st-12th grade.
  • Rehearsals are held on Saturday (elementary, intermediate, advanced ensembles) and Sunday (most advanced ensembles).
  • New student auditions take place in April. Candidates are assigned a 5-8 minute audition time.
  • 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