This season marks the ten-year anniversary of the Institute for Learning, Access, and Training, known as the Negaunee Music Institute since 2014 when the Negaunee Foundation made a $15 million gift to ensure the future of the Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs.

On October 15, 2008, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association officially launched the Institute with the intention of creating lasting connections with youth in Chicagoland’s communities by promoting active participation in music. Today, across Chicago and around the world, the Negaunee Music Institute connects individuals and communities to the extraordinary musical resources of the CSO. Under the visionary leadership of the CSO’s Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti and Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma, Institute programming gives access to the Orchestra, educates young listeners, provides advanced training to young musicians, and serves the city through music.

Liisa Thomas is a Partner at the law firm of SheppardMullin and serves as the current chair of the Institute’s Board of Advisors. Reflecting on the ten-year anniversary of the Board’s reconfiguration, Thomas stated that “the Institute Board is primarily concerned with diversifying the CSO experience, offering guidance and expertise on education programs, and supporting the work of CSOA staff as they deepen the impact of the Orchestra in schools and communities throughout our great city.” Thomas added, “as chair of the Negaunee Music Institute Board, and a Civic Orchestra alumnae, my hope is to see continued growth of diverse communities taking part in the ‘CSO experience.’ This includes a stronger presence of music being performed in neighborhoods throughout the city as well as a more accessible experience for all people within the walls of Orchestra Hall. This anniversary is a time to celebrate the myriad accomplishments that have occurred at the Institute during the past decade as well as respond to the changing needs of our young musicians and community partners.”

Visit for information about celebratory events and special programming that honors this anniversary season.

IMAGES | Top: A young concertgoer stands for a better view of the CSO school concert, Friends in Harmony, under the direction of Thomas Wilkins in Decmeber 2017. Collage: Clockwise fro top left: Yo-Yo Ma and a young audience member demonstrate emotion through music at RefugeeOne during the November 2017 Bach Marathon. | A group of students look in awe at the skull of NORM the T-rex, on loan from the Field Museum and on display in Symphony Center during preconcert activities of the March 2018 CSO Family Concert, Let’s Explore! | Civic Fellow Maria Arrua poses on stage with a young violin student from Sistema Ravinia during the 2018 Chicago Youth in Music Festival. | Members of the Joffrey Academy Trainees and Studio Company dance the celebrated Pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the May 2018 school concert, The Firebird. | Riccardo Muti, during an open rehearsal with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in September 2017, encourages bravado in the opening cello solo of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. | Photos by Todd Rosenberg