The Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) was originally founded in 1959
by Mary K. Rosen. In the beginning, MYSO included a mere 14 music students and at the
time was known as the Chicago Young Judea Symphony. In 1968, parents of
the orchestra members formed a non-profit organization for the purpose
of providing financial and managerial support. The name of the orchestra was changed at that time to the
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra.
MYSO was under the continuous direction of its founder and conductor until her death, at which time Pamela Overstreet Culley assumed the duties of director and conductor. Upon her retirement in 1985, Daniel Sommerville assumed her position. He was followed by James MacDonald in 1986 and Philip J. Bauman in 1988.
After a hiatus of two seasons, a process of dissolution was begun. The board, under the leadership of Nancy Denton, decided to relocate MYSO from Chicago to the Joliet area. Auditions were held in May of 1991 and our current music director, Lawrence Sisk, was hired for MYSO's first season in Joliet. Mary Jane Johnson, was hired in 1992 by the board to oversee the day to day business operations of the orchestra. In Spring of 2001, Mrs. Johnson retired and the position was filled by Mrs. Pam Nogal.
Mel Gray, Jr., president
Michael Gorcowski, vice-president
Judy Culcasi, treasurer
Josie Sheppard, secretary
Mary Jane Johnson
Lawrence Sisk, music director
Pam Nogal, executive director
The orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Sisk, rehearses on Wednesday evening from late August through May in Ives Hall at Lewis University.
All members are expected to comply with the guidelines in the MYSO Handbook. Download the MYSO Handbook by clicking here (pdf).
Lawrence Sisk has served as Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra since 1991, conducting more than 100 concerts. He is Professor of Music and Chairman of the Music Department at Lewis University, where he plays bassoon in the Lewis University Wind Quintet with other artist-faculty. Sisk studied bassoon at the College-Conservatory of Music, and with Willard Elliot, former principal bassoon of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He went on to earn a PhD in historical musicology at Northwestern University, where he studied orchestral conducting with Maestro Frederick Ockwell. While Dr. Sisk has a special affinity for Russian music, his conducting repertoire includes everything from Renaissance music to music of living composers. He has conducted the world premieres of many new compositions, including works by faculty colleagues and music composed by MYSO players.