Illinois Symphony Orchestra Expands Education Programs Through Agreement with Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony

Posted by: Beth Wakefield - February, 20th 2020 @ 09:30 am

Illinois Symphony Orchestra Expands Education Programs Through Agreement with Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony


The Illinois Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony (SVYS) are pleased to announce that they have entered into an agreement for the SVYS to become part of the ISO beginning July 1, 2020. At that time, the SVYS organization will join the family of education programs offered by the ISO and make the ISO the region’s principal provider of youth and adult orchestral education experiences. The SVYS will become the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestra.


ISO Board President John Kauerauf states, “A core value of the ISO is to provide exciting, life changing musical opportunities and resources for students of all ages. The expansion and enhancement of our education programs, through the addition of the programs developed by the years of excellent work of the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony, fits perfectly into our mission. We are eager to take on this important work for our community.”


SVYS Board President Paul Sullivan adds, “The Board of Directors of the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony are excited about this opportunity.  Having closely aligned mission, vision, and values, we believe the ISO will provide a wider array of educational opportunities for the young musicians in our community and a platform to collaborate artistically with some of the best professional musicians in the state.”


The SVYS and ISO have worked together for many years. This has included Side-by-Side performances by the two organizations, master classes and workshops with prominent guest artists, and ISO musicians working in rehearsal with the young musicians of the SVYS. ISO Music Director Ken Lam states, “I am excited to be able to work with the fine young musicians of the SVYS and to help lead the artistic growth of the programs we offer to both the youth and adults in our community.”


Jackie Mitra, SVYS Executive Director and parent of an SVYS musician adds, “I look forward with great anticipation to what this collaboration with the ISO will mean for the future of music education in Springfield and the surrounding area. I believe the ISO will provide new and unique opportunities for our musicians and take orchestral music education in our community to the next level.”


Trevor Orthmann, ISO Executive Director, says, “This important partnership will expand the ISO’s educational opportunities for all members of our community. It is extremely important to be able to offer both world-class orchestra performances and education programs, as it has been proven that classical music provides both health and education benefits to those who participate.”


Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony was established in 1976 in response to Springfield area schools removing orchestra programs from their music education curriculum. Forty years later, we continue to provide the only school-based string music education program and youth orchestra program for children in Sangamon County. Students in our youth symphony programs enjoy orchestral and string music education weekly in beginning, intermediate, and advanced group ensembles. The SVYS also provides orchestral experiences for adult amateur musicians to continue their passion for music through the Sangamon Valley Civic Orchestra. The mission of the SVYS is to enrich our community through quality orchestral experiences and education. SVYS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit


The Illinois Symphony Orchestra (ISO), led by acclaimed Music Director Ken Lam, is central Illinois’ largest professional orchestra serving over 30,000 community members with a budget of approximately $1.3 million. The ISO celebrates its 27th season of exciting performances with concerts in both Springfield and Bloomington/Normal including symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, pops concerts and Concerts for Kids.


The ISO’s commitment to the community is highlighted through its award-winning Music Matters! in-school programs for students in Kindergarten – 6th grade; engaging Concerts for Kids, a favorite of students, teachers and parents; and the Around the Town Free Chamber Music Series. Through these programs the ISO brings diverse repertoire and live musical experiences to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.


The ISO, founded in 1993, is the consolidation of two well-established organizations: the Springfield Symphony and the Bloomington Normal Symphony. The ISO has won numerous awards including the Illinois Council of Orchestras' awards for Meritorious Service in Outstanding Programming, Community Service, and Community Event of the Year, all in recognition of its service and commitment to the citizens of Illinois. The ISO has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall during the tenure of Conductor Laureate Kenneth Kiesler and has made appearances at the Ravinia Festival, Millennium Park in Chicago and the Illinois State Fair.


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Additional information about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is available at


The ISO is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.