Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) announced today that Executive Director Susan Lape will step down at the end of 2022 to join the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance as its Vice President of Development.
Lape served as CYSO’s Executive Director since 2017. During her tenure, CYSO has successfully implemented its 5-year strategic plan, positioning the organization as a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion practices for youth music ensembles, expanding CYSO’s national reputation for creative programming and artistic excellence, and growing CYSO’s fundraising base and overall financial support.
“I fell in love with CYSO because of our incredibly ambitious and creative students, our courage in challenging the status quo in music education, and our drive to accomplish big artistic projects far beyond what anyone might expect for a youth orchestra. But what I have loved most about my role at CYSO has been the community of people I’ve had the honor to learn from, work with, and be inspired by,” Susan Lape said.
CYSO programs have seen enormous growth over the last several years. The organization’s student body, staff, artistic faculty, and board have all expanded. CYSO recently celebrated its 75th anniversary season with the largest gala in the organization’s history, including performances by symphony, jazz, string, and steelpan ensembles, a tribute by Wynton Marsalis, and the launch of a $5M endowment campaign. The organization’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion have also deepened, including increased partnerships with Chicago Public Schools and participation in the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative. CYSO weathered the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting to virtual instruction and outdoor performances, as well producing over 100 free virtual events that expanded CYSO’s global reach.
As CYSO Board of Directors Chair Ross Bricker noted: “Susie has had an enormously positive impact. She has helped us grow CYSO’s student body, deepen our community engagement, led three successful international tours, and deftly navigated the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. Most importantly, throughout Susie’s tenure, we have kept our focus on providing CYSO students with music training, education and performance opportunities of the highest level. As we enter CYSO’s 76th year, we are in the strongest financial position in the organization’s history.”
The Board is currently in the process of a nationwide search for CYSO’s next Executive Director. While that process is underway, CYSO Director of Operations Madalyne Tregellas-Maxwell will assume the role of Interim Executive Director. Maxwell has been an integral part of CYSO programs for more than 17 seasons and has served as Director of Operations since 2018. She will be assisted by CYSO Music Director Allen Tinkham, along with the organization’s capable and dedicated senior administrative team.