Jazz Orchestra

Building on Chicago’s rich history as a center of jazz music creation and innovation, CYSO’s Jazz Orchestra is dedicated to the study and performance of classic and contemporary big band jazz music. The orchestra is comprised of 20 – 25 high school-aged student musicians under the direction of jazz musician and educator Pharez Whitted. The Jazz Orchestra performs everything from classic big band swing charts steeped in jazz tradition to new works that incorporate the current and emerging styles defining the genre today. 


Auditions for CYSO’s Jazz Orchestra 2019-2020 season are now closed. Please fill out the form below to be added to the CYSO mailing list, and you be notified when our 2020-2021 season auditions are announced in early February 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the Jazz Orchestra Auditions, please contact Kaytie Faries at kfaries@cyso.org.

Jazz Orchestra weekly rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at CYSO’s rehearsal space in the Fine Arts Building, Room 833. Tuition is $750 for the season (September-May). Financial assistance is available.

Jazz Orchestra sectionals are led by some of Chicago’s top professional musicians and are designed to provide additional assistance in preparing season repertoire. Sectionals will be held throughout the season on regular rehearsal days at the Fine Arts Building.

CYSO’s Jazz Orchestra performs throughout the season at locations around the Chicago area.

Pharez Whitted

Meet CYSO’s Jazz Orchestra Director, Pharez Whitted. 

A respected jazz musician and educator, Pharez Whitted has been performing for more than 30 years. He serves is on the faculty of Ravinia’s prestigious Jazz Scholar Program, served as Professor of Music at Chicago State University, and performs regularly around the region. Read full bio

Question about Jazz Orchestra? Contact Kaytie Faries at kfaries@cyso.org or 312-939-2207 ext. 240 

This program is supported in part by a grant from The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.