Our Mission

The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago will become increasingly indispensable to the cultural life of our city through the quality of our performances and the positive changes we bring to communities in crisis.

Reimagining the listening experience 

A symphony orchestra can seem inaccessible to those who have not had the good fortune of early exposure, or any exposure. Even those who regularly attend classical concerts may find that there is a stoic separation between orchestra and audience. In an era where we are typically more connected to our smartphones than the smart music of Beethoven, the status quo of classical music must innovate in order to preserve the art form, and share its invaluable effects throughout all communities.  

OSC concerts are a unique experience where the conductor and musicians are eager to engage with the audience, explain the music they are playing, smile, laugh, and collaborate with unexpected venues and artist. OSC musicians are youthful and diverse professionals who have experience playing in symphonic and chamber groups around the world, but are also involved in genres such as jazz, blues, and pop.  


OSC continues to collaborate throughout the season with musicians from a variety of popular genres, for concerts that delight audiences of all ages. Past and current collaborators include: The Distant Brothers, Aryk Crowder, Grammy award-winner Howard Levy, and more.

OSC receives inquiries from recording artists who seek to have their popular songs scored symphonically, such as the one below by Austin duo Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin. OSC also receives inquiries from dancers, fine artists, and spoken word performers. When it comes to presenting classical music in new and exciting collaborations, the sky is the limit.

Our commitment to children & audiences of the future

OSC is dedicated to providing early exposure to classical music, to children in Chicago and beyond. OSC currently focuses on children within the Chicago Public School system, and has partnered with CPS schools to provide music outreach programs that impact students and spark an early interest in classical music. In addition to developing exciting programs that will benefit the communities in Chicago who need it the most, OSC continues its involvement with Music Inspires!

Will you still hear some traditional Beethoven & Bach?

Absolutely. The foundation of OSC is the musicians' dedication to the greatest music ever written. Every OSC concert will have at least one piece of historically significant classical music. OSC will share the excitement and serenity of classical music, and the concerts will be programmed to help the audience find this timeless music as exciting as we do.    

Any other changes for the audience?

Yes. Applause will be permitted during performances. But the orchestra will have to earn it.

When the venue is conducive, the audience will be seated in a circle with the orchestra in the middle. OSC will explore other non-traditional configurations depending on the shape of the room and the demands of the music. Mina Zikri, OSC musical director, will deliver brief remarks during every performance to facilitate the audience’s understanding of the music.