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Kirsten Williams playing the violin

Kirsten Williams, CSO Concertmaster (Image: Martin Ollman)

The Canberra Symphony Youth Chamber Orchestra (CSYCO) is a performance enrichment program for enthusiastic string players aged 12 to 19 who have reached an advanced level on their instruments.

CSYCO is a unique opportunity for young musicians to rehearse and perform alongside CSO Concertmaster Kirsten Williams. Unlike a larger youth orchestra, CSYCO is an unconducted ensemble for 15–20 musicians; all participants receive specialised training and mentorship in solo, chamber and orchestral playing, musicianship and building professional skills. CSYCO welcomes musicians aspiring to professional performance as well as advanced players pursuing other career paths.

Apply now to gain invaluable skills and performance experience in a supportive community of like-minded peers. 


  • Exciting performance opportunities including recitals and community outreach
  • Workshops and masterclasses with Jessica Cottis, CSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, CSO musicians and high profile guest artists
  • Behind the scenes access and special pricing for CSO events


  • Ages 12–19 in 2022
  • Minimum instrument level of AMEB Grade 7 or equivalent


To apply, email a completed application form to or deliver in person at the CSO Office during business hours (Level Five, 1 Farrell Place). Applications close COB Friday 25 November 2022.

Current CSYCO participants will need to complete a new application and audition for the 2023 intake.

Download application form [PDF 518KB]

Applicants will be allocated an audition time on 7 or 9 December 2022 (auditions will all be scheduled at 4pm or later).

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

  • orchestral excerpts
  • one own choice piece that demonstrates their instrumental ability.

Auditions will also comprise a sight reading exercise and a short interview.


Violin excerpts [PDF 3MB]
Viola excerpts [PDF 4MB]
Cello excerpts [PDF 4MB]
Double bass excerpts [PDF 5MB]


A free audition preparation workshop with Kirsten Williams will be delivered on 7 November 2022 at Ainslie Arts Centre (4.30pm–6.30pm). Attendance is optional and will not affect the outcome of an application.

Register for the workshop


The CSYCO program runs weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the 2023 school term (participants are allocated to either the Tuesday or Wednesday ensemble). Rehearsals run from 5pm to 6.30pm, followed by a 30-minute performance class (6.30pm–7pm). CSYCO will present two concerts in 2023 in the final week of Terms 2 and 4.

Participants must regularly attend rehearsals and participate in at least three performance classes per term as a performer or audience member. All participants must perform in performance class at least once per term.

Term 1, 2023: 13 February – 28 March
Term 2, 2023: 2 May – 13 June
Term 3, 2023: 18 July – 5 September
Term 4, 2023: 10 October – 28 November

CSYCO is an extension program designed to build on existing learning – students already participating in school and community-based ensemble/orchestral programs are expected to continue in these programs.


The participation fee for 2023 is $595.00 plus GST.

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


For more information, email