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Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras

Chicago, IL            

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. To do this, CYSO provides high-level instrumental ensemble training to students from across the Chicago area. We continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our community, and CYSO now provides the following programs: Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Debut Orchestra, Accelerando Strings, Preparatory Strings, Overture Strings, four Steel Orchestras ensembles, a Jazz Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music Program, masterclasses, and Community Engagement Programs. Ensemble programs rehearse weekly and students perform in at least two concerts per season. Students in on-site ensemble programs are eligible for Financial Aid, and all Community Engagement Programs are provided at no cost to the students. Community Engagement Programs include the CYSO @ CPS program, which brings ensemble instruction and small group sectionals to Chicago Public Schools, a series of Education Concerts and Community Concerts, and a free concert ticket program.

CYSO has a successful history of developing young musicians and providing unique opportunities for them to grow artistically as well as personally. Over the years, CYSO has been honored to have been named Youth Orchestra of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras (2016, 2010, 2004, 1998), received eleven ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming (1994, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014), as well as received many other local, national and international awards and recognition.

CYSO’s programming and reach has expanded significantly since it began as one orchestra 73 seasons ago, but it remains committed to investing in the future of music and the next generation of leaders. 100% of CYSO graduates pursue college studies, often at the most prestigious universities and conservatories in the nation. Our alumni have gone on to perform in the world’s finest orchestras and music ensembles, and have become music educators, and community leaders, doctors, lawyers, and business professionals. And while they are a part of CYSO, students have unique learning opportunities such as collaborations with composer and drummer Glenn Kotche, the Chicago Bulls, Blue Man Group, Third Coast Percussion, The Second City, steel pannist Liam Teague, and many other leading artists and composers.

Infinite Tree performed by Glenn Kotche and CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Symphony Orchestra was joined by composer and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche for the world premiere of his new concerto, Infinite Tree. Kotche and the orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Allen Tinkham, performed at Symphony Orchestra’s May 2017 concert at Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall in Chicago. CYSO commissioned the piece.

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Blow It Up, Start Again performed by CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra

CYSO commissioned Blow It Up, Start Again from composer Jonathan Newman and premiered it in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall in May 2012.

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David T. Little: RADIANT CHiLD Performed by Third Coast Percussion and CYSO’s Encore Chamber Orchestra

CYSO’s Encore Chamber Orchestra led by Music Director, Allen Tinkham featuring Third Coast Percussion, recorded the first video performance of David T. Little’s RADIANT CHiLD with support from New Music USA.

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