CHICAGO YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS

Listen to the future!

aka CYSO   |   Chicago, IL   |  www.cyso.org

Mission

CYSO's mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music.

Ruling year info

1948

Executive Director

Susan Lape

Main address

410 S Michigan Ave Suite 833

Chicago, IL 60605 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-6109808

NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

At Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO), we believe that every student should have equal opportunities to improve academic achievement, increase their self-confidence, and gain the skills necessary to become leaders in their communities. Music education helps create personal excellence and is the cornerstone in achieving academic goals in a myriad of subjects. And quality music education goes beyond benefiting students on an individual level—it helps create and strengthen a healthy, vibrant community. But unfortunately, music instruction in public schools, particularly in Chicago, is often unavailable or inconsistent. CYSO addresses the need for high-quality music education in the city and Chicago suburbs by providing accessible weekly programs that bring together young musicians between the ages of 6 – 18 for instrumental ensemble instruction in downtown Chicago as well as through after-school instruction in neighborhoods throughout the city through its CYSO @ CPS program.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

On-Site Programs

Orchestras
CYSO has been providing high-level instrumental ensemble training to students from across the Chicago area since 1946. We continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our community, and CYSO now provides the following orchestral programs: Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Debut Orchestra, Accelerando Strings, Preparatory Strings, and Overture Strings. These include three string orchestras and four full orchestras that serve elementary through high school players.

Steel
CYSO’s Steel Orchestras are comprised of four youth steel ensembles made up of elementary, middle, and high school students. This is a full year program that introduces students to music through the steelpan (or steel drum), a unique percussion instrument which has its roots in the Caribbean islands and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. Rehearsals focus on basic music theory, technique, musicianship, building a diverse repertoire and learning about calypso—the traditional music of Trinidad and Tobago—as well as other musical styles from classical to jazz.

Jazz
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 25-30 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.

CYSO also has Chamber Music program, a Composition Seminar, and a Master class series.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Reaching more than 8,500 young people each year, CYSO Community Engagement Programs include our CYSO @ CPS after-school ensembles and in-school sectional instruction, Education Concerts, Ambassadors Concerts, Masterclasses, free Community Concerts, and free ticket distribution programs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As Chicago’s leading youth ensemble training program, CYSO serves an important role in the community by bringing together promising young musicians from diverse backgrounds in an environment that promotes learning, collaboration, musical, and personal growth. Students have said of CYSO: “People get to come together from all over to share a common interest. It shows that we’re all a community no matter where we come from,” and, “It’s not just an orchestra, we’re like family.”

Research has found that musical training and playing an instrument changes the anatomy and function of the brain on a neurological level in ways that are retained in adulthood, even if an individual does not play their instrument for years. Brain scans taken during musical performances show that virtually the entire cerebral cortex is active while musicians are playing. Music skills exercise and strengthen the synapses between brain cells with the simultaneous engagement of senses, muscles, and intellect by repeated action, like practicing scales, etudes, and long notes. This ultimately increases the brain’s capacity by increasing the strengths of connections among neurons. Music truly becomes an agent of positive change in a child’s life.

CYSO aims to bring the highest quality music instruction and access to children across the city of Chicago and the surrounding area, so that as many students as possible can receive these benefits. And while not all students will pursue music as a career, CYSO is internationally recognized for producing the next generation of professional musicians. CYSO alumni can be found in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and other leading ensembles. Most importantly, whether or not CYSO students continue their music studies after graduating, they leave with a strong sense of discipline, accomplishment, confidence, self-esteem, and a deep appreciation for music and the arts.

CYSO’s mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. To do this, CYSO offers a continuum of programs downtown and in Chicago neighborhoods that serve more than 650 young musicians between the ages of six and 18, along with free engagement activities and performances serving 8,500 students from Chicago Public Schools. CYSO currently provides the following programs on-site: Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Debut Orchestra, Accelerando Strings, Preparatory Strings, Overture Strings, Jazz Orchestra, Steel Orchestras, a chamber music program, Chamber Orchestra, and a composition seminar, which reach nearly 600 young musicians. All ensembles rehearse weekly during the school year and perform public concerts at least twice per year at the region’s top venues. Through our CYSO @ CPS Program, we provide free, after-school band, steel pan, and percussion ensemble instruction to more than 50 students in three Chicago Public Schools. Additional Community Engagement Programs such as educational and community concerts allow us to reach more than 8,500 students through free programming each year.

Neighborhood-based CYSO @ CPS satellite programs available at no cost to the students, and all students participating in on-site ensembles are eligible for financial aid. In addition to learning technical skills, instrumental ensemble training provides social and emotional skills such as teamwork, leadership, compassion, self-awareness, and discipline. CYSO also brings programming to new communities through free education and community concerts in collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, Foundations of Music, and the International Music Foundation. These include educational performances provided in schools by CYSO ensembles and chamber groups, as well as concerts held downtown that draw students from across the city.

Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) was founded in 1946 by a group of students, who – energized by a summer music camp – wanted to explore music closer to home throughout the school year. Students first met on Saturday mornings at the Wurlitzer Music Store on South Wabash Avenue, and in November 1947, 100 young musicians held the first CYSO performance at Orchestra Hall, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1960, CYSO moved to our current home in the historic Fine Arts Building, a center for arts and culture since 1898. Since then, CYSO has earned local and national awards, partnered with some of the most prestigious artists and organizations, and continues the legacy of musicianship on which the organization was founded.

CYSO’s programming and reach has expanded significantly since it began as one orchestra, but it remains committed to investing in the future of music and the next generation of leaders. CYSO employs a full-time staff of nine, a part-time staff of 13, and more than 100 contracted employees, primarily artists who serve as coaches, judges, and sectional leaders. The Board of Directors has 18 Directors and three members of the Board of Trustees. CYSO receives support from a large community of donors, volunteers, Board Members, students, parents, alumni and other individuals and organizations. The Board of Directors provide strategic governance and financial support, adding to CYSO’s diversified mix of income from foundations, corporations, individuals and special events. With solid leadership, outstanding artistic programs and robust community partnerships, CYSO moves forward as a first-rate arts education organization.

CYSO is excited about the future of the organization, having seen unprecedented growth in programmatic offerings and reach in recent years. CYSO’s Strategic Plan will help the organization maintain its pledge to providing programs of the highest quality, while strengthening the organizational and fiscal foundation of CYSO and ensuring a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

CYSO has always served a diverse range of students, but has recently focused its efforts on fostering this diversity with more intentionality, ensuring that every student has the resources and tools they need to succeed at CYSO. CYSO’s Strategic Plan goals include growing African-American participation to 15% (vs. 7% today) and Latinx participation to 25% (vs. 13% today). By making equity, diversity, and inclusion a priority in all areas of the organization, CYSO will strengthen its own programming and also support the future of professional orchestras, which “are among America’s least racially diverse institutions.” (Cooper, Michael; The New York Times) CYSO’s Strategic Plan also recognizes the importance of increasing access for low-income students, and by 2023 CYSO would like 40% of all on-site students to be eligible for need-based financial assistance.

To work toward this goal, CYSO has undertaken an Inclusion Audit, overseen by an Inclusion Audit Steering Committee. This included collecting current and historic data on minority student participation, retention, successful audition placement rates, and post-high school plans; holding focus groups consisting of parents and students of color; attending equity, diversity, and inclusion training sessions; and meeting with representatives from other arts education organizations. CYSO recognizes that equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) must be an ongoing commitment, and is working with an EDI consultant in to help the organization summarize findings from the Inclusion Audit and develop a long-term EDI plan for the organization.

Financials

CHICAGO YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CHICAGO YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS

Board of directors
as of 2/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ross Bricker

Jenner & Block

Term: 2020 -

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data