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
November 17, 2019
Fall Symphony Orchestra Concert at Orchestra Hall
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November 19, 2019
POSTPONED: CPS Education Concert: Jazz Orchestra
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December 08, 2019
Debut Orchestra, Preparatory Strings, & Overture Strings Fall Concert
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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 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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CYSO Presents Chicago Premiere of Zhou Tian’s “Transcend” at Nov 17 Orchestra Hall Concert

Symphony Orchestra will present the Chicago premiere of  Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian’s Transcend at their November 17 performance at Orchestra Hall. Transcend was commissioned by the Reno Philharmonic in partnership with CYSO and 11 other professional orchestras to mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Tian, a professor at Michigan State University, spent months researching both …
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Symphony Orchestra Presents Works by Saint-Saëns, Koussevitzky, Thomas and Tian on Nov 17 at Orchestra Hall

Symphony Orchestra will present their fall 2019 concert at Orchestra Hall on Sunday, November 17 at 6:30 pm under the baton of Music Director Allen Tinkham. Tickets are on sale now. The concert will feature the Chicago premiere of Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian’s Transcend, written in honor of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The piece …
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First CMPI Cohort Includes 19 CYSO Students

Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative (CMPI) recently announced their first cohort of 50 musician fellows, a group of talented young players who will receive mentoring, coaching, and financial support over the coming year to support their musical training. As members of the CMPI Steering Team, we are thrilled to announce that 19 of the 50 fellows are CYSO members!  The mission of …
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