The Hyde Park Youth Symphony grieves for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless Black lives lost to racist violence and the systems that enable that violence. We grieve with our South Side community and communities across the US.
HPYS is committed to cultivating anti-racist practices through our ongoing mission. We are listening carefully in order to learn how best to do our part, and to emulate the deep listening we hope to cultivate in our students.
We believe in teaching music because we believe in the intrinsic value of music education for everyone. We believe, too, that music education teaches multitudes: to honor and express our own feelings, to empathize with the feelings of those with experiences unlike our own, and to embody and radiate the reparative powers of art during difficult times.
Classical music, education, and the arts have a responsibility to understand and address the systemic inequalities affecting their communities--a responsibility that we do not always meet. Statements of solidarity and support must be accompanied by action: specific, persistent, and abiding action. We commit to these actions, and to the difficult conversations they require.
The Hyde Park Youth Symphony brings together diverse students from the south side of Chicago and beyond to provide a high-quality orchestral performance experience and education as a training ground for the next generation of performers, educators,
and advocates of music and the arts.
Teaching young musicians for over 60 years
The Hyde Park Youth Symphony (HPYS) is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Chicago’s South Side. For over 60 years, the HPYS has provided a high-quality arts experience for youth musicians, nurturing in them a love of music that will last a lifetime. The HPYS serves a diverse range of young people and families from various educational, racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, bringing them together in the joy of making music together.
The Youth Symphony consists of the most experienced orchestral musicians in the HPYS, including high school and advanced middle school students on instruments including winds, brass, percussion, and strings.
Students with previous orchestral experience can hone their musical, technical, and ensemble skills in the orchestra while performing both standard orchestral repertoire and new works.
Led by Artistic Director Matthew Sheppard, Youth Symphony performs approximately four concerts each year in some of the finest venues on the South Side, including Rockefeller Chapel, Mandel Hall, the South Shore Cultural Center, and Logan Center for the Arts.
For students looking for their first ensemble experience, check out Preparatory Strings! Small class sizes and an emphasis on building strong fundamentals of string technique, ensemble playing, and musicianship are the hallmarks of Preparatory Strings. Dr. Lindsay Wright, a string specialist with years of experience in small-group instruction, leads Preparatory Strings in a curriculum that balances the individual and group aspects of playing.
New in 2018-19, the HPYS Chamber Music Program brings an exciting new facet of playing to the HPYS experience. Small ensembles of three to five students meet weekly with professional performers and educators in the Chicago area to learn the intricacies of performing both as soloists (one person per part) and ensemble players (playing with a group). Currently, only sting players who are members of Youth Symphony or have auditioned to be a part of Chamber Music are eligible for Chamber Music, but stay tuned for expansions to the program in upcoming seasons.
Made up of intermediate string players in middle and high school, String Orchestra gives students a chance to focus on string-specific technique while playing and performing in an ensemble setting. Under the guidance of violinist Dr. Lindsay Wright, students benefit from individual attention and expert pedagogy as they grow as string players and well-rounded musicians.