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Youth Chamber Orchestra (CSYCO)

Kirsten Williams, CSO Concertmaster (Image: Martin Ollman)

The Canberra Symphony Youth Chamber Orchestra (CSYCO, pronounced ‘psycho’) is an exciting, new performance enrichment program for musicians aged 14–19 who have reached an advanced level on their instruments.

Unlike a larger youth orchestra, CSYCO will have a focus on unconducted performance for a smaller group of players (approx. 15–20 musicians). Participants will receive training and mentorship from CSO Concertmaster Kirsten Williams, encompassing chamber and orchestral playing, individual performance development, musicianship and professional skills.

CSYCO is an opportunity for dedicated young musicians to extend their instrumental and ensemble skills in a supportive, like-minded peer group.

Other opportunities:

  • Workshops / masterclasses with Jessica Cottis, CSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director and CSO guest artists.
  • Opportunities to attend CSO rehearsals, pre-concert talks and other activities.
  • Ad hoc, performance opportunities at the CSO Summer Prom and other events.
  • Attractive family pricing for CSO concerts.



4 February 2022
Applications close (second intake for 2022)

8 February 2022, 5pm
Free audition preparation workshop in Canberra with Kirsten Williams, CSO Concertmaster
Venue: CSO Offices, Level Five, 1 Farrell Place

11 February 2022 **times / venue TBC**
Live auditions



  • Ages 14–19 in 2022
  • Minimum instrument level of AMEB Grade 7 or equivalent

This intake is open to string players (violin, viola, cello and double bass). Expressions of interest for other instruments are welcome via and will be considered as the CSO reviews the pilot program.



To apply, complete the application form and email it to by COB Friday 4 February 2022 with any relevant attachments.

If you require additional space for relevant application information, please attach additional pages as necessary.

CSYCO application form [PDF 198KB]



To audition for CSYCO, applicants will be required to present:

  • two orchestral excerpts

Excerpts: violin [PDF 485KB]
Excerpts: viola [PDF 358KB]
Excerpts: cello [PDF 313KB]
Excerpts: double bass [PDF 298KB]

  • one ‘own choice’ piece that demonstrates the candidate’s instrumental ability

Auditions will also comprise sight reading and a short interview.

If video auditions are required due to COVID-19 restrictions, a preparation piece will be required in lieu of sight reading and an interview will be arranged via Zoom.



CSYCO rehearsals will run weekly (1.5 hours) during the 2022 school terms followed by a short performance class (30m). Students must regularly attend rehearsals and participate in at least three performance classes per semester.

Term 1, 2022: 14 February – 1 April

Term 2, 2022: 2 May – 17 June

Term 3, 2022: 18 July – 9 September

Term 4, 2022: 10 October – 18 November

Rehearsals: Tuesdays / Wednesdays, 5pm – 6.30pm, ANU School of Music
Regular attendance required

Performance class: Tuesdays / Wednesdays 6.30pm – 7pm, ANU School of Music
Students will be expected to play in at least one performance class per semester and attend a further two classes as an audience member.

CSYCO will present four concerts in 2022, in the final week of each term.

CSYCO is an extension program designed to build on existing learning – students are expected to continue participation in school music programs.



The participation fee for 2022 is $550.00.

A limited number of scholarship places will be offered to students facing financial barriers to participation.



For more information, contact the CSO via