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Education & Community

Celebrating More Than 75 Years of Education & Engagement in Chattanooga and Surrounding Areas!

Inspire. Engage. Enrich.

The CSO’s community engagement and education programs strive to do just that.  Our education programs send musicians into local schools and bring students to the Tivoli Theatre to inspire and encourage Chattanooga’s students to love and appreciate classical music.  Frequent collaborations with Chattanooga’s cultural institutions and city organizations help to engage the community and further classical music and the arts.  Performances in public venues, hospitals, and community celebrations enrich Chattanooga and contribute to a vibrant city.  To find out more information on educational programs and community engagement opportunities, please click the tabs below.

Principal Horn, Gordon James, interacts with a student during a 2012/13 Ensemble in the School performance.

Principal Horn, Gordon James, interacts with a student during a 2012/13 Ensemble in the School performance.

CSO Ensembles in Schools
September through May

Ensembles in Schools sponsored by






with additional support from


and The Tucker Foundation

The CSO String Quintet and Wind Quintet introduce the instruments of the orchestra and basic musical concepts with age-appropriate programs for students in area elementary and secondary schools. The programs address Hamilton County (as well as state and national) standards for music education.

For more information, contact Sarah Marczynski at 423.267.8583 x 2100. By reservation only.

The 2013/14 season included performances at over 60 schools in the greater Chattanooga area including:

    • East Ridge Elementary School
    • Ooltewah High School
    • Alpine Crest Elementary School
    • Fairyland Elementary School
    • Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts
    • Bachman Academy
    • Bradley Central High School
    • Cloud Springs Elementary School
    • Signal Mountain Middle/High School
  • Red Bank Elementary School
  • Dade Elementary School
  • East Side Elementary School
  • Michigan Avenue Elementary School
  • Graysville Elementary School
  • City Park Elementary School
  • Cohutta Elementary School
  • Normal  Park Lower School
  • St. Peter’s Episcopal School

Students in the Alpine Crest Strings in the School Program

Students in the Alpine Crest Strings in the School Program

CSO Strings in Schools

The Strings in the Schools program, in its 8th year, provided a string teacher for Alpine Crest Elementary School.  David Creel, CSO Violinist, taught three 45-minute violin classes each week to 40 students, assisted by Judy Brittingham, Music Teacher at Alpine Crest.

Last season, the CSO created a second Strings in the School class at Big Ridge Elementary School.  Priscilla Estrada taught a weekly class there to 17 students.

There is much enthusiasm for strings at Alpine Crest and Big Ridge and the CSO is investigating opportunities to expand this program in the 2014/15 season.

2015 Young People’s Concerts

All Aboard! Coast to Coast

Thursday, February 3, 2015
Friday, February 4, 2015
Kayoko Dan, conductor
Tivoli Theatre

Admission is $5 (by reservation only).

Designed especially for students in grades 3-8, Young People’s Concerts feature the CSO and the winner of the CSO Youth Orchestras’ Concerto Competition in a program of great symphonic classics, illustrating the instruments and sections of the symphony orchestra. t.

Schools located in Tennessee may apply for funding assistance through the Tennessee Arts Commission. Visit for more information. All 3rd grade students in HCDE schools are eligible to attend free of charge (admission and transportation) thanks to the Imagine Chattanooga project through ArtsBuild.

For more information, contact Sarah Marczynski at 423.267.8583 x 2100.

YPC 2012 014

Last season, The Young People’s Concerts, presented on February 5 and 6, 2014 at the Tivoli Theatre, were well received by teachers and students.  The program, Symphonic Voyagers: The Orchestra in Orbit and Beyond! featured Carey Shinbaum as an alien from the planet Agoonattahc guiding the audience through a musical journey to outer space as the CSO played selections by Holst, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Mozart..  Also included was a performance of Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 by Bethany Thornton, winner of the CSOYO Concerto Competition.  The CSO Orchestra was conducted by Kayoko Dan, CSO Music Director and Conductor.

Over 4,000 were in attendance for the performances.  35 different schools from 4 different counties in Tennessee and Georgia, as well as various home school groups, were represented.

Teacher’s Guides for some  past Young People’s Concerts are available for download below.

2014 YPC – Symphonic Voyagers Teacher’s Guide

2012 YPC-Peter & the Wolf

Peter & the Wolf Coloring Book

2005 YPC-The Planets


CSO Youth Orchestra

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Youth Orchestras were founded in 1949 to give students the opportunity to perform in a full orchestra. The CSO Youth Orchestras have more than doubled in size and now include a Symphony Orchestra (Gary Wilkes, Director), a Philharmonic Orchestra (Sandy Morris, director) and an Etude String Orchestra and Prelude String Orchestra (Nichole Pitts, Director). The CSOYO is open to students up to the age of 19. Students under the age of 12 may audition with a recommendation from their private lesson teacher.

For more information contact the CSO Youth Orchestras Manager Steve Tonkinson or call 423.267.8583 x 112.

CSO Youth Orchestras site

Out & About Performances

CH2 web

The CSO continues to create and develop engagement and educational programs that appeal to all ages, all presented under the umbrella CSO in the Community.  CSO Engagement programs include performances by the CSO ensembles in a variety of public settings including healthcare facilities, area community centers, libraries, parks, and other public institutions, presenting performances primarily for young people, senior citizens and others who are unable to attend regular CSO concerts at the Tivoli Theatre.  For a listing of these performances, visit the CSO in the Community event listing.

Bob’s Bootcamps

Bob Bernhardt

Join Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt for his lecture series that takes an in-depth look at composers and their music.

$160 for the series or $50 per Bootcamp
Price includes lunch (vegetarian option by request)
Reservations due in advance.

Saturday, September 20 • 11:00am-2:00pm
Bob reviews the amazing career of world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo
Ma, and will provide a musical survey of his iconic recordings in
preparation of Mr. Ma’s October guest appearance.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 • 11:00am-2:00pm
This Bootcamp takes a look at how classical music has
infiltrated the world of pop music, Broadway, jazz, and other
music genres.

CONDUCTING 101 – Tivoli Theatre
Saturday, February 14, 2015 • 11:00am-2:00pm
This special Bootcamp will be held on-stage at the Tivoli
Theatre featuring the String Quintet. Bob will teach the
history and technique of conducting, plus provide a lesson for
attendees, who will have a chance to conduct the Quintet.

Saturday, March 21, 2015 • 11:00am-2:00pm
The relationship between Brahms and the Schumanns is
considered one of the most intriguing relationships in classical
music. Bob will conduct both a sociological and a musical study
of the trio.

Coffee & Cocktails with Kayoko

Kayoko DanPost-concert Barnett & Company Masterworks concerts
Tivoli Theatre

Have you ever wanted to ask Music Director Kayoko Dan a question about the music she programs, or ask musicians how they chose their instrument? Do you want to learn more about our guest artists’ careers?

Join Music Director Kayoko Dan, guest artists, and select orchestra musicians after each Barnett & Company Masterworks Series concert in the Tivoli Theatre lobby for post-concert coffee, wine, beer and mingling. This will be an informal meet and greet and a chance to talk about the concert you just experienced with musicians and fellow audience members.

This event is FREE to ticketholders and no advance reservations are required. All drinks and snacks are cash bar.

Radio re-broadcasts

WSMC 90.5 will be rebroadcasting select concerts from the 2013/14 season during the August and September 2014, leading up the start of our 2014/15 season. Here is the schedule:

August 6            Classical’s Greatest Hits – Volkswagen Series – 11/3/13 performance
August 13          Mozart Requiem – Barnett & Company Masterworks Series – 11/14/13 performance
August 20         Beethoven’s 7th – Barnett & Company Masterworks Series – 1/9/14 performance
August 27         Opera’s Bad Boys and Girls – Volkswagen Series – 3/9/14 performance
September 3     Beethoven and Prokofiev – Barnett & Company Masterworks Series – 3/15/14 performance
September 10  The Rite of Spring/Shostakovich and Vivaldi- Barnett & Company Masterworks Series  and Volkswagen Series – 4/24/14 and 4/27/14 performances

For more information or to listen online, visit WSMC’s website.

Chat Symphony Hour

Kayoko Dan; Music Director & ConductorHosted by Music Director Kayoko Dan, music director and conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. Produced exclusively by WSMC, the Chat Symphony Hour is your backstage pass for learning about works and composers featured in upcoming CSO concerts. Listen to Kayoko’s insightful commentary throughout the CSO season in this weekly program.

Chat Symphony Hour airs on Wednesdays on 90.5 from 10am to 11am.

Program schedule subject to change.

Play Along color logo

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Chattanooga Market



Community musicians are invited to perform alongside the professional musicians of the CSO for select pieces during FREE concerts held on May 3, 2015 at the  Chattanooga Market.


Stay tuned to this page for more details.

These performances are FREE for Chattanooga Market attendees.  For more details about the Chattanooga Market, visit

Please contact Sarah Marczynski at or 423.267.8583 x 2100 for more information or with questions.


Guest Artist Events

There may be opportunities for audience members and students to participate in masterclasses and other events with select CSO guest artists throughout the season. Please see below for information, deadlines, and registration.

For more information, contact Sarah Marczynski by email or at 423.267.8583 x 100.

Guest cellist Wesley Baldwin at a 2013/14 Masterclass

Guest cellist Wesley Baldwin at a 2013/14 Masterclass at the McCallie School

Guest artist Arnaud Sussman at a 2013/14 CCA Masterclass

Guest artist Arnaud Sussman at a 2013/14 Masterclass



New Audience Task Force

Photo courtesy of Scenic City Photography

Photo courtesy of Scenic City Photography

We’re a great organization that is doing amazing things, on the stage, in the concert hall, and in the community.  How can we share that message – that orchestral music, that classical music is an important part of Chattanooga?  Help us engage and inspire this community by becoming a part of our new audience task force.

Whether you’ve been to the symphony for years or you’ve never been, we want to hear from you! We’re depending on people like you to help us shape the future of the CSO-the concerts we offer, the ways we interact with our audiences, how we promote our events, and more. Your opinion is important to us!

Ways you can get involved:

  • Take our short audience survey and share with anyone who may be interested (whether they are orchestra fans or not!)
  • Stay tuned on this page, our email newsletter, and our social media outlets for more information.
  • Ask for more information (email or submit an idea below. We can’t promise to complete every idea, but we’ll happily consider them.

New Audience Task Force

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