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. The dynamic and engaging rehearsals foster musical and personal growth as students develop into well-rounded and thoughtful communicators, and leaders in their sections, ensembles, schools, and communities.

This thoughtful and attentive approach that is the hallmark of EYSO has led hundreds of alumni to successful careers as professional musicians, educators, and 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, their EYSO experience as a valued member of a thought-provoking, fair, and encouraging creative environment continues to serve them well.

The Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra would not exist today without the generous support of families, audience members, and donors. Your sponsorship of EYSO inspires artistry, confidence, and curiosity in hundreds of young musicians in the Chicago area.

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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