Designed for children ages 3–5, Once Upon a Symphony programs feature CSO musicians and introduce young children to the amazing world of classical music.

Once Upon a Symphony is produced and presented in collaboration with Chicago Children’s Theatre.

Expertly designed for our youngest concertgoers, Once Upon a Symphony weaves together live music performed by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, vivid storytelling, sets, costumes and images to create a unique and magical overture to the CSO music experience. These concerts enhance a child’s development as a life-long learner, cultivating skills such as problem solving, making connections, focus and self-regulation, perspective, persistence and self-directed, engaged learning.

In the 2017/18 season, we present two exciting programs that highlight the season-long theme, “In Harmony.” A hungry traveler arrives at a village, in Stone Soup, with nothing except an old cooking pot, arousing the curiosity of the townsfolk when he begins to make a pot of “stone soup.” One by one, the villagers contribute to the broth and discover musical harmony as they enjoy the most delicious meal they have ever tasted.

The Elves and the Shoemaker tells the story of a poor shoemaker and his wife who only have enough leather to make one last pair of shoes. While the shoemaker sleeps, someone fashions the most perfect pair of shoes imaginable—and a delighted customer pays twice the asking price. Who could have done such marvelous work? And will the magic continue? We all need help at times, and when we receive it, we strengthen our connections with one another.



Stone Soup
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Saturday, February 3, 2018
10:00 and 11:45 a.m.

Tickets & Info 


The Elves and the Shoemaker
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
10:00 and 11:45 a.m.

Tickets & Info 


Stone Soup
Monday, November 20, 2017
Monday, January 22, 2018
10:15 and 11:30 a.m.


The Elves and the Shoemaker
Monday, March 5, 2018
Monday, April 30, 2018
10:15 and 11:30 a.m.




Once Upon a Symphony is a unique program with experiences that extend beyond your visit to Symphony Center. The information below will help prepare for your visit.

  • A few weeks prior to each concert, you will receive a preparatory document that describes what to expect at Symphony Center and several recommendations of ways that you can prepare your child for a fun and engaging musical experience.
  • Concerts are presented in Buntrock Hall, with special seating designed just for our youngest audience.
  • In addition to the friendly CSO ushers, staff and volunteers will be on hand to help ensure that you have a comfortable and safe experience.
  • After the performance, you are invited to meet the musicians and the storyteller before heading home. A postconcert document will be sent to you in the days following the concert, offering suggestions to continue exploring the music and the story at home.



Subscribe and attend two concerts for $30!

Enter promo code OUASBUY2 at checkout. Enjoy these exclusive benefits when you subscribe:  

The Most Flexible Exchange Policy in Chicago

Enjoy quick, easy and FEE-FREE exchanges by phone or email when your schedule changes. You can even decide later on a future concert. Need a last minute change? Day-of-concert exchanges are available for a $10 fee.

Please note: Upgrade costs apply when exchanging into a more expensive concert. Stored value of exchanges must be used for concerts during the 2017/18 season and cannot be applied to events in future seasons. Visit for more information on exchange-restricted dates.

Premium Savings & Service

In addition to savings on subscription series seats, subscribers enjoy:
• Special subscriber parking rate—just $15 for prepaid parking at Grant Park South Garage
• 15% savings on shopping at The Symphony Store and postconcert dining at tesori®, conveniently located inside Symphony Center
• FREE lost ticket replacement


Once Upon a Symphony is made possible in part by a generous gift from the Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.


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