Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras Begins 65th Anniversary Season with Concert at Orchestra Hall

As a violinist/violist, I’ve spent a lot of time playing in various student and professional orchestras. Some of my favorite musical experiences were during my years as a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO). I started out in the City Youth Strings (CYSO’s training orchestra in the 90s) before moving on to the senior level orchestra. My first performance at Orchestra Hall as a member of CYSO inspired me to become a professional musician. From the moment I stepped onto that the stage for the dress rehearsal, I knew I wanted to be in music for the rest of my life.

CYSO has grown quite a bit since my years in the program. They now have five orchestras, an advanced chamber orchestra, chamber music instruction, theory classes, and the Music Pathways program which provides education and access activities for economically disadvantaged students in the Chicago Public Schools. Chicagoland kids from every ethnicity and economic level receive top-notch instruction from expert coaches in a nurturing and exciting environment.

This fall marks CYSO’s 65th anniversary. The orchestra is kicking off the season with a concert by its 130-member Symphony Orchestra at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (220 S. Michigan Ave.), November 20, 2011 at 7:30 PM. Music director Allen Tinkham will lead a performance of works by Strauss, Prokofiev, Barber, and Scriabin.

CYSO’s Symphony Orchestra has earned an international reputation as a premier orchestral ensemble featuring extraordinary and musicians from the Chicago area. Chicago Tribune classical music critic John von Rhein’s review of a recent performance remarked, “I was pleasantly surprised by how good – and by that I mean professional-level – the performances turned out to be… (Allen Tinkham’s) vigorous communicative baton brought forth an adrenaline rush of superior playing from his high-school-age champs.”

The program for the November 20 concert will include:

  • Richard Strauss – Don Juan, op. 20
  • Serge Prokofiev – Sinfonia concertante, op. 125 featuring cello soloist Austin Huntington
  • Samuel Barber – Essay No. 2, op. 17
  • Alexander Scriabin – The Poem of Ecstasy; Symphony No. 4, op. 54

Tickets are $20-$40. Boxes are also available. For more information, please visit or call 312-939-2207 x31.

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