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
January 29, 2019
Jazz Orchestra Winter Combo Concert
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February 09, 2019
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February 26, 2019
CPS Education Concert: Kaiso Steel Orchestra
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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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CYSO Welcomes Scott McConnell as Steel Orchestras Director

  CYSO is excited to share that Scott McConnell will be taking the lead in our Steel Orchestras program, moving into the role of Director effective this month. Scott has been with CYSO since 2014, serving as Steel Orchestras Assistant during that time.  “I’m thrilled to begin as director with CYSO’s steel program,” Scott said.  “I’ve watched it grow over the …
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Sean Ford’s Creative Tour Fundraising

 Back in the fall, the Chicago Tribune‘s Daily Southtown ran a story about Symphony Orchestra french horn player and Tinley Park High School senior Sean Ford. Sean will be joining CYSO on our June 2019 Tour of the Baltics and had come up with a unique fundraising strategy to help cover the cost—creating his own raffle. By going door-to-door selling tickets in his …
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Spring Repertoire Spotify Playlists Are Here!

We’ve made it easier than ever to listen to some of the pieces CYSO students will play this spring—check out our Spotify playlist to get a preview of the diverse repertoire our students will be tackling over the next few months! Pro tip: If you’re a student, these playlists are a great way to prep for rehearsal and perfect for …
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Alumni Interview: 2012 Alum Michael Cox Talks About the Journey to his First Professional Appointment

Trombonist Michael Cox was a member of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra in 2012 during his senior year of high school. After attending New England Conservatory of Music for undergrad and completing his Masters in 2018 at Northwestern, he began auditioning for orchestras across the country. As it turned out, the Skokie-native was appointed to his first professional position as principal trombone …
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