Youth Programs

IPO’s Vision for Education and Community Engagement

IPO believes music education is fundamental to developing vibrant and creative people and communities.  IPO’s Education and Engagement programming will bolster and support the efforts of highly qualified music educators, finding ways to deepen musical experiences for students of all ages.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in Chicago’s Southland, providing professional orchestral music of beauty and excellence to the region with a strong commitment to education. Through a wide variety of engaging programs designed to meet the needs of students, teachers, and community members of all ages, we strive to build a stronger community and impart our passion of music and the art.

IPO’s Educational Programming reaches 4,000+ school children of all ages each year

While the IPO Education Concerts are currently still on pause, CLICK HERE to enjoy our “Compose Yourself” production.

Made possible by support from: The Davee Foundation Education Fund Ozinga Illinois Arts Council Agency Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation “Compose Yourself!” is a fun, interactive, and educational showcase for the symphony orchestra. Geared for grades 2 – 6, the audience learns about the instruments and the instrument families in an accessible and entertaining format. The highlight of the program is when the orchestra votes to help compose a brand new piece of music on the spot, and viewers get to enjoy the World Premiere!

“Compose Yourself”
Conducted by Stilian Kirov
Narrated by Joseph A. Woods (Poet Laureate Park Forest, IL)

Docent Program

The IPO sends our knowledgeable volunteers into local schools to prepare students for the Youth Concerts, providing information about the music they will hear, along with an explanation of orchestra instruments and concert etiquette.

Artists in the Schools

Each year the IPO sends out its musicians in trios and quartets to share live music with children in the neediest area schools and community centers. This program allows children to better understand music and connect the arts with curriculum and daily life, while giving some students the opportunity to hear live classical music for the first time. This work is supported through Annual Fund and other donor giving. Grants are available to bring in these ensembles; please contact IPO’s Educations Director at at 708.481.7774.

Guest Artist Appearances

Each year the IPO brings in a variety of internationally acclaimed guest artists to share the stage with our orchestra. As their schedule permits, the IPO also arranges to have these musicians perform and do a Q and A with students and/or give masterclasses in area schools. The IPO is also pleased to offer special post-concert backstage access to students. (Pictured is pianist Lisa Smirnova during her visit to Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox.)

Musician Coaching

IPO offers groups of high school students the opportunity to practice their music and learn from four professional string musician – violin, viola, cello, and bass – in an individualized sectional rehearsal.

Meet the Maestro

The IPO partners with high school orchestras throughout the Chicago Southland by sending our Music Director in to present workshops to engage students, work on technique and develop musicianship.

Performance Opportunities

IPO offers school ensembles the opportunity to perform pre-concert and at intermission in the Ozinga Chapel lobby during IPO concerts. Participants and their siblings receive free tickets to the IPO concert; their family members may purchase discounted tickets.
Limited Availability

Rising Star Showcase

“The Friends of the IPO” is a volunteer group that supports the orchestra by hosting several fundraising activities, helping with mailings, and other activities. One of the events they sponsor is the RISING STAR SHOWCASE, a program designed to offer performance ready music students in the South Suburbs a chance to perform before a live audience.

Applications will be available in December 2021. Stay tuned for details on the 2022 concert.

To receive an application, email with your contact information. Please include name, email, phone, school, and instrument. An application will be emailed to you. Please fill out that application and include a personal reference from a music teacher, and a sample performance recording (CD, DVD, or other). The deadline for returning your application materials is TBD at this time. You can email or send to Rising Star 2019 c/o IPO, 337 Artist Walk, Park Forest, IL 60466. If you need additional information, please email

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