Reaching over 200,000 people annually, the programs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute provide broad access to the CSO, educate young listeners, train young musicians, and serve the city and the world through music. All concerts and events are offered to the public free of charge, or at a nominal fee, and aim to dissolve barriers to participation and diversify the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s audiences.

The 2019–20 season marks the 100th anniversaries of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the CSO’s concert series for children. Established in 1919 by the CSO’s second music director, Frederick Stock, these programs are today the foundation of the Orchestra’s educational activities.

To honor the milestone anniversary, this season includes a benefit gala on March 1, 2020, featuring world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma as soloist, under the direction of newly appointed Civic Orchestra Principal Conductor Ken-David Masur.

The centennial anniversary of the CSO’s concert series for children is pleased to provide free admission and school bus transportation to the performances for Chicago Public Schools students. Concert programs, focusing on the season’s theme of Leading Voices, encourage audiences to examine how a composer’s perspective, experience, and identity are expressed through music.

March 26–28, 2020, the CSO School and Family Concerts will feature the World Premiere and CSO Co-commission of Mason Bates’ Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra. The piece is a virtuosic concerto for orchestra and animated film. The piece zooms inside orchestral instruments to discover how sound is made and brings the instrument families together in a spectacular, pulsing finale.

To learn more about the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute and all of its programs, visit

Civic timpani Sarah Christianson poses onstage before a performance conducted by CSO Principal Trombone and Civic alumnus Jay Friedman. October 1, 2018. Todd Rosenberg Photography

Maestro Prestissimo B. Sharpenflats, aka Dan Kerr-Hobert from The Second City, attempts to steal the spotlight from the CSO musicians and (actual) conductor Edwin Outwater during a December 2018 Family Matinee performance. Todd Rosenberg Photography.

Civic violin Maria Arrua works with a young musician from The People’s Music School during the February 2019 Chicago Youth in Music Festival. Todd Rosenberg Photography.

Ken-David Masur leads the Civic Orchestra in Schumann’s Symphony no. 1 (Spring) during a May 2019 concert in Orchestra Hall. This season, Masur begins his new role as principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra. Todd Rosenberg Photography.

TOP: CSO Piccolo Jennifer Gunn presents her flute to a young patron after her performance in Once Upon a Symphony’s The Ugly Duckling. November 17, 2018. | Todd Rosenberg Photography.