Earlier this year, I was honored and thrilled to be appointed CYSO’s new Executive Director and lead one of Chicago’s great educational arts organizations. From its inception, the founding young musicians of what was then called The Youth Orchestra of Greater Chicago set forth the objective “to help in making Chicago an outstanding musical center.” Over the organization’s 77-year history, we have followed this ambitious guiding principle year after year. From inspirational world premieres to robust community engagement efforts to celebrated performances at Chicago’s historic Symphony Center, I am eager to build upon CYSO’s long-standing tradition of changing lives through music.
Today as I take in the excited chatter of students and the sounds of rehearsals at the Fine Arts Building, I can’t help but think back to the lasting impact CYSO has had on my own son, Cameron. For three years he played bassoon under conductor Terrance Malone Gray, took the Metra with friends, and thoroughly enjoyed his musical life. CYSO taught Cameron to be creative, disciplined, and fearless in the face of a challenge. Though he graduated almost 10 years ago, I see how the critical thinking skills and resilience that he developed at CYSO continues to benefit him today in his career as a biomedical engineer.
I remain so grateful to the many donors who made it possible for Cameron to benefit from these innovative CYSO programs. Won’t you consider supporting our current generation of CYSO artists in their life-changing, musical journeys? Our generous board members have agreed to match donations received through December 31, doubling your donation’s impact!
Throughout my own career, I have enjoyed an eclectic path that encompasses a range of performances, academia, entrepreneurship, administration, scholarship, and everything in between. I am excited to bring my experience and expertise to this new role with CYSO and steward the organization into its next era. Remembering the vision of those founding members, the success of CYSO and our incredible students has not only grown Chicago as a center for musical innovation and excellence, but also created a lasting impact in nearly every field.
I want to express my gratitude to the CYSO Board and donors, artistic staff, and administrative team for their tireless commitment to our students. I also want to thank you, our community of musicians, families, and friends, for being such an important part of CYSO’s musical legacy. It is truly the privilege of a lifetime to partner with you on this journey and I look forward to seeing you soon at an upcoming concert!
Jennie Oh Brown
Help CYSO reach even more young musicians this season with your gift before December 31