Audition Information & Requirements

2024-25 audition results will be announced June 10 via email​.


We still have openings for select instruments and levels:


New students, create your audition account and begin your application.
Returning students, log in to your Member Page and click "Statement of Intent" to get started.

Come to an Open House!

Visit rehearsals, meet the conductors, and see for yourself what being in EYSO is all about.

The EYSO Difference

EYSO is for everyone. For instrumentalists from 4th grade to college, playing for 2 years or 12, EYSO aims to find a place for each student to grow in one of our five orchestras, auxiliary ensembles, or thriving Chamber Music Institute. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Matthew Sheppard, the 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. 


Why Audition for EYSO?

Learn about why you should audition from recent EYSO alum Ernesto Bañuelos.

Common Audition Questions

1I'm already in EYSO. Do I still need to audition?
As a current EYSO student you can either A) audition to move to another ensemble, or B) stay in your current ensemble next season without re-auditioning. Log into your Member Page and select "Statement of Intent" to get started.
2Do I need to be first chair in my school orchestra/band to get into EYSO?
No! EYSO is for everyone looking for another ensemble opportunity. Every student has a place to grow in our five orchestras.
3What is the time commitment to be in EYSO?
EYSO rehearsals take place weekly on Sunday afternoons/evenings, with concerts in November, March, and May. Find more detailed dates and attendance expectations in the 2024-25 Season Calendar.
Find the 2023-24 Season Calendar and other documents at or on your Member Page.
4What are the audition requirements?
Requirements vary by ensemble. Click here to see complete audition and membership requirements for each instrument and ensemble.
5What music do I need to play for my auditions?

Elements of each audition may include scales, prepared solos, sightreading, and orchestral excerpts. Etudes and excerpts from longer solos are acceptable—we just need to hear a representative snapshot of your playing.

Click here for audition requirements broken down by instrument and ensemble level.

6How do I decide which ensemble to audition for? What if I pick the wrong one?

Start by reviewing the "Membership Requirements" boxes in this document and look for your instrument, age, and grade level. Ask your private teacher for guidance if you have one! String players, also look at the linked excerpts for your instrument to get an idea of the playing level required in each ensemble.

The ensemble you sign up to audition for is just a starting point, and you're automatically considered for placement in the ensemble that will allow for the most growth. See #13 below for more about the EYSO placement philosophy.

7When are auditions held?
May 30-June 2, 2024. String auditions take place all four days; winds/brass May 31-June 2 only; piano/percussion/harp June 1 only.
8Where are auditions held?
All auditions take place in person at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123 in Building H (click here for campus map)
9I want to see what an EYSO rehearsal is like. Can I visit before I audition?
Yes! We have two scheduled open houses: February 18 and April 7. Click here for more information.
10What should I bring to my audition?
  • Everyone: your instrument plus accessories (extra reeds, rosin, etc.) and two copies of your solo piece(s)
  • Percussionists: sticks and mallets (timpani, snare drum, mallet instruments, and tambourine are provided)
  • Harpists: your harp
  • Pianists: we'll have a piano for you
11What if I don't have access to my instrument for the audition?
If you don't own your instrument or have challenges auditioning with your instrument, please email
12When will audition results be announced?
June 10, 2024 via email.
Audition results are not shared over the phone.
13How are ensemble placements determined?
After hearing auditions in late spring, EYSO staff thoughtfully make placement decisions based on playing ability, age, and the current needs of each ensemble. Students are placed in the ensemble most closely matching their musical level, including such considerations as the quality of tone production, technical facility, range on the instrument, intonation, vibrato, dynamic range, articulation, phrasing, rhythmic integrity, expressive style, and overall accuracy.
14How do I audition for the Chamber Music Institute?
Students interested in auditioning for the Chamber Music Institute (CMI) program can declare their interest on their application. Learn more about our CMI program click here. Students accepted to Youth Symphony are also eligible to audition for the Honors Chamber Ensemble program (see #15 below).
15What are the Honors Chamber Ensembles and how do I audition?
EYSO Honors Chamber Ensembles (HCE) offer unparalleled opportunities for advanced wind, string, and brass players to play chamber music at the highest level and work with some of the finest artist teachers and chamber music coaches in the Midwest, including members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, and Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, plus teachers from Northwestern, DePaul, Oberlin, University of Illinois, UW-Madison, and more. As premier honors ensembles of EYSO, HCE groups maintain an active and high-profile performance schedule.
All members of Youth Symphony (including those accepted during auditions for the 2024-25 season) are eligible to apply. To learn more and submit your application, click here.
16How is seating determined?
All EYSO ensembles use rotational seating, so you won't be assigned a "chair." Wind players will play a variety of parts throughout the season, and string players will sit in different parts of their sections.
17Is there a fee to audition?
Yes: the audition fee is $45 for new students and $35 for returning students and must be paid before your application can be submitted.
An application fee waiver is available.
18Where can I find tuition information?
2023-24 Tuition Schedule and Information
2024-25 Tuition Schedule and Information
Read a message from the Executive Director regarding 2024-25 tuition rates here.
19Is tuition assistance available?
Yes! Need-based tuition assistance is available to qualified students and families and is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications are available during online registration, after audition results are shared.
20Is there a sibling discount?
Yes: a sibling discount of 10% is automatically applied for each student after the first, applicable to the lesser tuition amount(s).
21I have a question that wasn't answered here. Who do I contact?
Emily Krasinski, Director of Membership & Operations ( or 847-841-7700)