About Us

The EYSO Difference

The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra attracts a national reputation for providing not only an engaging musical experience for its students, but also a comprehensive learning environment which promotes curiosity, imagination, critical thinking, and collaboration. With eight large ensembles and a thriving Chamber Music Institute, EYSO auditions record numbers of students each year in addition to the hundreds of musicians who already enjoy its rigorous methods of inquiry and “expert noticing.”

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Matthew Sheppard, a leader in music education, the nearly 400 students of EYSO explore a comprehensive curriculum each season—one which aims not only to help these students develop artistically and technically, but also to prepare them for a future of complex ideas, creative risk-taking, and leadership as global citizens. Rehearsals center not only around growing as players and collaborators, but also as thoughtful communicators and leaders in their sections, ensembles, schools, and communities.

It is with this thoughtful and attentive approach that participating in EYSO has led hundreds of  alumni to successful careers as professional musicians, educators, and strong leaders in every field. It’s what we call “educating the whole musician”: preparing our students for a lifelong journey of inquiry, creativity and growth. Regardless of our alumni’s pursuits, however, their experience as a valued member of a fair and encouraging creative environment has continued to serve them well.

To learn more about the pedagogical approach that EYSO conductors and coaches use in delivering the EYSO mission please visit the Illinois Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) page

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