Applications Open for Chicago Symphony Orchestra's New Fellowship Program

The Fellowship will support up to three musicians from marginalized backgrounds, with the goal of preparing them for professional life

(Photo credit: Anne Ryan)


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) recently announced its new Fellowship Program in 2022, with a focus on expanding training opportunities for young musicians who come from groups that are not traditionally represented in symphony orchestras.

This year, there will be fellowships available for up to three applicants of Black, Latino, or Indigenous backgrounds, though the CSO notes that applicants from other marginalized backgrounds will also be considered.

The selected players will gain a significant amount of industry experience with the CSO, including the opportunity to play in a minimum of twenty weeks' worth of subscription concerts. They will also receive ten hours of individual lessons with CSO players, with the goal of preparing the Fellows for orchestral auditions at the conclusion of the program.

"We are excited to launch the CSO Fellowship Program, coming out of our renewed conversation about, and commitment to, expanding opportunities and support for talented musicians from diverse backgrounds eager to pursue a career performing in symphony orchestras," said CSOA President Jeff Alexander.

"We must remain focused on this important work to ensure a strong and equitable future for this wonderful and life-enriching artform."

"We take seriously the responsibility of mentoring the next generation of musicians, and we look forward to welcoming the musicians of the fellowship program on stage with us," added James Smelser, the Chair of the CSO's Members Committee. 

The deadline for submitting video auditions is 11:59 CT on Friday, May 27, 2022.

Those progressing to the final round will be flown to Chicago to complete a live audition at the Symphony Center. You can read more about the application process, as well as about the Fellowship more generally, here.