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CSA Sinfonia


CSA Sinfonia began in 1993 as a middle school string ensemble, CMS Strings, and was directed by the late Arthur Montzka. Linc Smelser became director in 1996, and in 1999 the string ensemble became a full orchestra. 

String, wind, brass, and percussion players! Here's your chance to play original masterpieces by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven, as well as music from the 20th century, sometimes including popular music classics by Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. The music is fun and challenging. CSA Sinfonia performs a winter and spring concert in NIU's Boutell Concert Hall.

Ages: 14 - 20
Schedule: 28 Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. – 9:45 p.m., Room 155, Music Building
Rehearsal Schedule: September 6 - May 2.
No rehearsals: November 22, March 14 and March 28.
Rehearsals resume in 2018 on January 17.
Come to the first-night picnic on September 6 at 6 p.m. in Annie's Woods, weather permitting, or in the Concert Hall lobby. 
Admission: By audition only. Sign up to audition today!
Concert Dates
On concert nights, the parking sign in the lot south of the Music Building (Lot 3) will be adjusted to allow free parking without a pass.
Director:Linc Smelser
Fee: $300 (annual) 

Register today!


Bring-a-Friend Day - January 24, 2018

The second rehearsal in spring is open to any high school musician who would like to experince the orchestra – for free! Members of the group are encouraged to bring a friend that day, but anyone is welcome to attend this rehearsal. There’s no fee and no obligation.  Participants in Bring-a-Friend Day are encouraged to bring their instrument. 

CSA Sinfonia Concerto Competition

This annual competition is for musicians who are 18 years old or younger and who live within a 75-mile radius of DeKalb. Players are expected to perform one memorized movement of a standard concerto or work with orchestral accompaniment. Competitors need not be in the CSA Sinfonia. Winners may not compete again on the same instrument. Details and application forms are available online and in the office. The winner receives a prize of $200 and performs the concerto with the orchestra at the May concert.

Congratulations to Thompson Wang, winner of the 2016 CSA Sinfonia Concerto Competition! Thompson performed Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor, III Alegro ma non tonto. Thank you to everyone who participated in the competition and to our wonderful judges, Mathias Tacke, William Goldenberg and Kate Swope! 


Thompson, age 16, is currently studying with Almita Vamos, Roland Vamos and also learning in The Music Institute of Chicago Academy program.    He started playing the violin at the age of 4 with Wendy Castille, and since the summer of 2012, he started attending the Colburn School in Los Angeles, and studied with Sam Fischer. 

During these 2 years, Thompson has won numerous competitions, such as, winning the Discovery Prize for the YMF Debut Concerto Competition, 1st place in the Westside Concerto Competition, 1st place in the JCM Concerto Competition, 1st place in SYMF, 1st place of ASTA SoCal Finals, and 1st place in the SFVSO Concerto Competition. 

Thompson has also gotten the opportunity to perform in prestigious halls such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Segerstrom Hall in the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Zipper Hall in Colburn School, and The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage. Thompson has also had the opportunity to solo with orchestras such as the San Fernando Valley Orchestra, the Santa Monica College Symphony and the Orange County Symphony. 

Every summer, Thompson has been a consistent participant in the Montecito International Music Festival, as well as the Idyllwild Arts Chamberfest. Thompson has also been apart of world-renowned teachers’ master classes such as Joseph Silverstein, Martin Chalifour, Emmanuel Borok, Alexander Treger, as well as chamber master classes from Jerome Lowenthal, Jacob Braun, Andrew Cook, and Joon Sung Jun. 

Sinfonia in Performance