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Celebrating the Music Activity Partnership – Part 1

In 1998, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra developed a unique school partnership in response to a request from the Chicago Public Schools: to make music a part of students’ everyday classroom experience while training teachers to use music to facilitate student learning across subjects.


Celebrating the Music Activity Partnership, Part 2

As the Music Activity Partnership comes to an end, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute looks back at one of the inspiring workshops of the 2014/15 season: preparing participating teachers for April’s CSO Youth Concert: A Revolution in French Music.

The Percussion Scholarship Program performing at their 2014 Spring Recital.

Percussion Scholarship Program celebrates its 20th season

Launched in 1995, the Percussion Scholarship Program offers intensive, individual, weekly percussion instruction on a full scholarship basis. This year, PSP celebrates its 20th anniversary of providing the highest quality individual and ensemble percussion education to a diverse community of youths from across the city of Chicago.

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Civic Orchestra of Chicago
Ludovic Morlot Conductor
Jennifer Koh, Violin

 © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Kids to the left of me, Yo-Yo to the right — here I am, playing the cello with you

Cellist Genevieve Tabby and her Civic Orchestra colleagues were “five minutes” from heading onstage for Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite when she learned she’d have a…

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Music for Food comes to Chicago

Originating in Boston, Music for Food is a concert series that raises resources and donations for local food pantries, and awareness in the fight against hunger. Now, Mira Luxion is bringing Music for Food to Chicago.

The Civic Orchestra of Chicago performs Don Quixote.

Civic’s Artistic Challenge 2.0: ‘Don Quixote’

Will Riley Robbins is a Citizen Musician Fellow of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. A member of the orchestra for the past two years, Robbins has participated in each Artistic Challenge, the most recent culminating in a performance at Orchestra Hall on April 7, 2014. The Artistic Challenge was inspired by Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, who tasked the musicians of Civic to attain ownership of the music they are performing. To learn more about the Civic Orchestra, please visit

Whitney Covalle rehearses a choir at Jones College Prep.

Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight: Whitney Covalle at Jones College Prep

Whitney Covalle is the choir director at Jones College Prep in Chicago, Illinois. Inspired by music from a young age, Covalle uses her own experiences with music to create an environment for her students to thrive and develop as musicians and as people. Also a staunch advocate for the arts, Covalle hopes that her students will be able to receive the benefits of participating in music – and then tell others about the importance of it. To learn more about her program, please visit

Music students at Swift Elementary.

Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight: Samantha Gamble at Swift Elementary

Samantha Gamble is a music teacher at Swift Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. Gamble works to integrate the arts into core subject areas, and provides meaningful instruction to her students, many of whom are English Language Learners, prompting her to include world music in her teaching. She also strives to give her students ownership of their experiences with music, with a student-produced, upper grade musical.

Civic Orchestra playing Beethoven's Symphony No. 6.

A look back on Civic’s inaugural Artistic Challenge

During the 2012/2013 season, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago participated in its first Artistic Challenge: a project inspired by CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma. The project, which ran through the entire season, centered on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6. The challenge? To memorize the work in its entirety and perform it without a conductor.


Reconstructing Shostakovich

This spring, the Truth to Power Festival focuses on the music and actions of composers Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, and Benjamin Britten. Shostakovich provides a particularly interesting case – in addition to his already large output of published works, so many of his works were either abandoned or lost, and then rediscovered. Gerard McBurney, a composer and arranger – and artistic programming advisor at the CSO – has been called upon multiple times to recreate Shostakovich’s lost or unfinished work. We spoke with him about his experiences in reconstructing some of Shostakovich’s compositions.

Leo Park and his students at Northside College Prep.

Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight: Leo Park at Northside College Prep

Leo Park is the orchestra director at Northside College Prep in Chicago, Ill. Over his career at Northside, Park has helped grow his program exponentially, which offers a variety of music classes, including the four orchestras that he teaches. A strong advocate for the arts, and inspired by the Citizen Musician Initiative, Park encourages his students to do more in their community through music.