Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. After 75 years of music-making, CYSO continues to shape generations of young leaders and musicians. Students collaborate and create in a learning environment like no other, developing fundamental skills including leadership, self-confidence, teamwork, and resilience. We are committed to educating, encouraging, and empowering each young musicians so that they may pursue personal excellence both on and off the stage.
CYSO works with young musicians ages 6-18 in on-site and school-based ensembles, and offers community programming reached audiences of all ages across the Chicago region. Our ensembles include symphony orchestras, string orchestras, steelpan, jazz band, chamber music, and music composition programs. We invest in our community through CYSO@CPS school-based ensembles and free concerts that reach more than 10,000 young people annually.
CYSO promotes and provides ensemble-focused programming because we believe in the power of community. A young musician’s time at CYSO is a pathway of opportunity and growth, but they do not walk it alone. By bringing together young people from across the region, CYSO students build bonds with those who come from different backgrounds and share a passion for music. They develop the skills necessary to thrive as an ensemble. Whether or not a student continues music studies after their time in CYSO, young people leave with increased self-confidence, a strong sense of discipline, and a deep appreciation for music and the arts.