Symphony Orchestra Triumphs at their Return to Orchestra Hall - Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Symphony Orchestra Triumphs at their Return to Orchestra Hall

After two long years away, the young musicians of CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra took to the Orchestra Hall stage on Sunday night, November 14. Students and audience alike were thrilled to be back in person for the live performance. Under the baton of Maestro Allen Tinkham, students performed a packed program that was met with multiple standing ovations from the cheering crowd.

CYSO Symphony Orchestra faces the audience at the end of the Fall 2021 concert while Maestro Tinkham stands with arms outstretched in the center
Collage of close-ups of three students playing violin and flute
Wind section with focus on a bassonist

We were thrilled to welcome Mary Elizabeth Bowden, a 2000 CYSO alum and renowned classical trumpet soloist. Ms. Bowden presented the Midwest premiere of Vivian Fung’s Concerto for Trumpet, co-commissioned by CYSO. The piece was a virtuosic tour de force, with Bowden playing both the e-flat trumpet and flugelhorn. At the conclusion of the performance, Ms. Bowden was joined on stage by the composer, Vivian Fung, for bows in front of the cheering audience. The piece is the first concerto written by a North American female composer for a female trumpet soloist.

Mary Elizabeth Bowden playing with the orchestra in the background
Collage of photos of Mary Elizabeth Bowden performing and shaking Maestro Tinkham's hand
Vivian Fung and Mary Elizabeth Bowden smiling at the edge of the stage with the orchestra behind them

After her performance, Bowden accepted CYSO’s 2021 Alumni Award, speaking about the impact her time in CYSO had in preparing her for a professional career, as well as thanking the private teachers in attendance who pushed her to achieve as a young musician. 

The concert also featured concerto performances by two Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition winners. Bianca Ciubancan, winner of the 2020 award, performed Paganini’s Violin Concerto no. 1 in D Major, thrilling the audience with technical wizardry and skill. Louis Auxenfans, winner of Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 Concerto Competition, performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major with lyricism and energy. 

Collage of Bianca Ciubancan playing her violin with the orchestra in the background and a close-up of Bianca with flowers and Maestro Tinkham clapping in the background
Collage photo of a close-up of Louis Auxenfans playing his clarinet and photo of Louis standing next to Maestro Tinkham

Aside from the concerto performances, the orchestra opened the concert with Barber’s lush Second Essay, as well as a spirited performance of Bernstein’s Overture of West Side Story with Assistant Conductor Steven Gooden making his conducting debut with the ensemble. The second half of the concert was devoted to Tchaikovsky’s tempestuous Symphony no. 4 in F minor. The rousing finale had the audience on their feet, a tribute to the energy that Symphony Orchestra brings to every performance.

Collage of a photo of a percussionist and a horn player
Wind players stand for bows
Three string players smile behind masks

A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for this exciting homecoming! Concert posters, CD and DVD preo-orders are available now in the CYSO shop. You can also tune in to the concert livestream on our YouTube channel now.

View the complete photo gallery here.

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