CYSO Youth Symphony Chicago
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About CYSO

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras has provided music education through orchestral programs and performance opportunities of the highest caliber since 1946.

CYSO serves more than 600 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, steel orchestras, jazz orchestra, and supplemental programs including chamber music ensembles and composition. CYSO musicians receive superb orchestral and chamber music instruction from Chicago’s most respected professional musicians, perform in the world’s greatest concert halls, and gain the self-confidence and discipline necessary for a successful future.

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Upcoming Shows & Events
February 01, 2020
IMEC Session: Engaging Young Musicians in Their Learning with Daniella Valdez
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February 04, 2020
Jazz Orchestra Combo Concert
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February 08, 2020
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Discover Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras


CYSO serves nearly 600 students ages 6-18 through four full orchestras, three string orchestras, steel orchestras, jazz orchestra, and supplemental programs. Musicians receive superb instruction and gain the skills necessary for a successful future.

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CYSO auditions are open to students who will be high school seniors or younger. Auditions for the upcoming season happen each spring. Tuition assistance is available for all programs for families with financial need.

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The best way to experience CYSO is to attend an event! From our annual fundraising gala, free community concerts, performances at Symphony Center’s venerable Orchestra Hall, we offer something for everyone.

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CYSO alumni play in the world’s finest orchestras and ensembles, as well many other respected professions. Regardless of whether they pursues further music studies, CYSO students leave with skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

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Kaiso Steel Featuring on WCIU’s The Jam

Early on the morning of December 5, five dedicated Kaiso Steel Orchestra students (and one Steel alum!) converged at the Fine Arts Building for a very early 5:00 am call time.  The students made their way to the 8th floor where they met Scott McConnell, CYSO Steel Orchestras Director, and did a few practice runs on a handful of songs …
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“Winged Creatures” Producer Jim Ginsburg Nominated for a Grammy

We are excited to share that Cedille Records’ Jim Ginsburg was recently nominated for a Grammy award for Producer of the Year, Classical. Jim was nominated for his most recent Cedille albums, including “Winged Creatures,” recorded by Anthony and Demarre McGill with CYSO’s very own Symphony Orchestra and Allen Tinkham. The other works Jim produced that are recognized with the …
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Symphony Orchestra Triumphs at Fall Concert at Orchestra Hall

Thank you to everyone who joined us for CYSO’s fall Orchestra Hall concert on Sunday night! Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Tinkham played to a packed house, earning multiple standing ovations from the audience, including after the room-shaking finale performance of Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. We were thrilled to present the Chicago premiere of Grammy nominated composer Zhou Tian‘s Transcend and honored that the composer (pictured …
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CYSO Bassist Gives Back: Nicholas Boettcher and The No Repeats Program

In 2017, then 13-year-old bassist Nicholas Boettcher had an idea to bring music lessons to teens serving time in the juvenile detention center near his home in Naperville. With the help of his then 15-year-old brother Jack, a cellist, the two started The No Repeats Project. Nicholas, who is now 15 and co-principal bass in Symphony Orchestra, and Jack, a …
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