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The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra celebrates 65th anniversary

Four of today’s teens attest to the vibrancy of the CYSO.

Photo: Erica Gannett
CYSO performers: Jonathan Luk, Viola; Sophie Stein, Violin; Anthony DeMartinis, Percussion; Christine Lin, Oboe

The next time you’re confronted with the grave declaration, “Classical music is dying!” send the offender to the eighth floor of the Fine Arts Building. There thrives the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, a vibrant organization celebrating its 65th anniversary. With international tours (next up: ten days in Spain, this June) and regular performances at Symphony Center, CYSO has expanded beyond the traditional repertoire under the broad-minded leadership of music director Allen Tinkham and general manager Joshua Simonds. A 2007 Lollapalooza gig and last summer’s collaboration with My Brightest Diamond appear to indicate a new trajectory for the forward-thinking orchestra. We sat down with four of its more than 120 young talents to talk about stereotypes and the (very bright) future of classical music.

CYSO musicians perform February 11 and March 14. The 65th Anniversary Alumni Concert happens April 9.