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Governing Members

Governing Membership offers a unique opportunity to engage with greatness through unparalleled access to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its artists. As the CSO’s first established philanthropic society, the Governing Members (GMs) have been dedicated to ensuring the Orchestra’s success since 1894.

Today’s Governing Members have a strong appreciation for the excellence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and enjoy getting to know others who share that enthusiasm and passion for the CSO. Members serve as advocates for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association in the Chicago area and beyond.

Each season, Governing Members provide more than $3 million in vital support, which enables the CSOA to:

  • Pursue artistic excellence, develop new audiences and expand innovative educational and community engagement programs.
  • Reach more than 500,000 people each year through live performances — including more than 45,000 students, teachers and families — in concert at Symphony Center and in communities across Chicago, the U.S. and the world.
  • Partner with more than a dozen Chicago public elementary, middle and high schools, which receive in-school performances by CSO and Civic Orchestra musicians and take field trips to Symphony Center for School Concerts and Open Rehearsals.

With nearly 500 members, this dynamic group enjoys substantive, unique opportunities and access to a range of benefits and privileges that deepen their engagement with the CSOA.

Membership Benefits — Highlights

Executive Committee

GM Chair
Charles Emmons, Jr.

Immediate Past Chair
Michael Perlstein

Vice Chairs of Member Engagement
Judy and Merrill Blau

Vice Chair of the Annual Fund
Phyllis Bleck

Vice Chair of Nominations & Membership
Lisa Ross

Enjoy a whole new world of access to the CSO with the Associate Governing Members.

Associate Governing Membership gives Overture Council members in good standing an introduction to the world of the Governing Members. This is a great opportunity for Overture Council members who are ready to increase their personal and philanthropic involvement with the CSO and enjoy new access to the world-class orchestra. Associate Governing Members will find themselves up close and personal with musicians of the CSO through member-exclusive events, access to the Richard and Helen Thomas Club for preconcert dining and personal invitations to the CSOA’s major annual events. For more information, email the Governing Members or call 312-294-3337.