Civic Orchestra of Chicago
The nation’s premier training program for young professional musicians
Orchestra Hall

Founded in 1919 by Frederick Stock, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago prepares young professional musicians for lives in music. Civic members participate in rigorous orchestral training, September through June each season, led by Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur, musicians of the CSO, and some of today’s most luminary conductors including CSO Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti. The Orchestra also performs free concerts in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and in communities across Greater Chicago.

Learn more about Civic

Hear the Civic Orchestra
Attend concerts at Symphony Center and in communities across the city.
Explore more
Civic Orchestra of Chicago Musicians
Meet the members of the 2021/22 orchestra.
Explore more
Civic Fellowship Program
Civic Fellows receive training in artistic planning, music education and community engagement.
Explore more
How to audition for the Civic Orchestra
Apply to join the orchestra in 2022/23.
Explore more
Reconnect with the Civic Orchestra.
Explore more
Ken-David Masur
Ken-David Masur has conducted distinguished orchestras around the world and prioritizes music education and working with the next generation of young artists.
Explore more

Explore more on Experience CSO
Three perspectives on the Civic audition process
Auditions for Civic Orchestra of Chicago are under way for next season. Civic manager Molly Walker emphasizes that the auditions have few restrictions: “There’s no age limit on either side, but generally, the applicants are 21 to 26,"
Explore more
Civic Orchestra celebrates 100th anniversary with a virtual concert
Though Symphony Center is closed, one event will go on: The Civic Orchestra of Chicago will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a virtual concert.
Explore more
Civic Mock Auditions
In the winter and spring of 2021, all 85 members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago participated in virtual mock auditions. The ambitious project involved 37 CSO musicians, Civic Orchestra Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur and special guests.
Explore more
Civic Fellows' Call for Scores culminates in program of new music
Led by a team of five Civic Fellows, the Call for Scores project offers an opportunity to discover and perform exciting new pieces by contemporary composers. The program will be available to stream for free on CSOtv beginning on June 17.
Explore more
Learning to Love Audition Prep
Music is a challenging life. It’s harder than I knew when I chose it, and I grew up on the inside, in a musical family. But for me, well, it’s pretty clear. I can’t stay away.
Explore more
CSO connects to classrooms through science-inspired musical projects
The CSO-Connect Curriculum Program brings CPS teachers from arts and non-arts classrooms together to develop lessons tied to a yearly theme and orchestral repertoire featured in a CSO School Concert.
Explore more
Share the joy of music
Give today