Youth Symphony

For very advanced high school and college-age students, the Youth Symphony is the flagship orchestra of the EYSO. Its repertoire has included Mahler: Symphony No. 1 and Todtenfeier, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Revueltas’ Sensemaya, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 6 (in 2014, the premiere performance by an American youth orchestra), Phillip Glass: Symphony No. 7 (first performance by a youth orchestra), and other symphonies including Sibelius 2, Shostakovich 1, 5, and 9, Beethoven 5 and 7. The 2019 season focused on Bartok’s magnificent Concerto for Orchestra.

Youth Symphony members are drawn from a wide geographic area and enjoy the thrill of collaborating with other dedicated, high-caliber musicians. Artistic Director Randal Swiggum has conducted around the world, including the Scottish National Youth Orchestra and all-state orchestras and choirs around the U.S. He is a renowned for his leadership in the Comprehensive Musicianship movement which seeks to infuse the rehearsal with critical thinking, inquiry, and curiosity, helping shape young musicians as independent thinkers and confident interpreters.

Youth Symphony members also enjoy the ebullient leadership of Associate Conductor Matthew Sheppard. Mr. Sheppard is originally from Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Illinois. He also conducts the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Hyde Park Youth Symphony.

The Youth Symphony was showcased on NPR’s “From the Top”, performed with both violin superstars Midori and Rachel Barton Pine, and was featured at the Ravinia Festival in an unprecedented four appearances. In 2012, the Youth Symphony embarked on a ten-day Civil War Tour, combining moving performances with in-depth exploration of some of the “big ideas” of this historical period—a Youth Symphony specialty.


Rehearses Sundays, 6:15-9:00pm.
Performs during the 7:00pm concerts in November, March, and May, and at a concert in April (TBA).