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.
Did you know that tuition only covers about 30% of our operating costs? HPYS is made possible through the generous support of donors like you.
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. Andrea Ferguson, a string specialist with years of experience in young student instruction, leads Preparatory Strings in a curriculum that balances the individual and group aspects of playing.
The HPYS Chamber Music Program offers students opportunities to develop skills essential to both solo and large ensemble playing. 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 Andrea Ferguson, students benefit from individual attention and expert pedagogy as they grow as string players and well-rounded musicians.