Chinese Orchestra

Chinese Orchestra

The CYCS Orchestra is a Chinese symphony orchestra that primarily made up of Chinese traditional instruments and a few Western instruments such as Cello and Bass. Students can join the program starting the summer program (for entry level students) or get admitted to the program through auditions.

Conductor & Instructors

CYCS has a group of professional and highly skilled artists to lead and coach the student musicians.

Jindong Cai,  is the Music Director and Conductor of CYCS since 2009. He is also a Stanford faculty since 2004 as the first holder of the Gretchen B. Kimball Director of Orchestral Studies Chair and is currently the conductor of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. more

Yongping Tianerhu instructor
Hecheng Liu, pipa instructor
Wanpeng Guo, sheng instructor
Hua Yang, guzheng instructor
Alan Yang, cello instructor
Jun Gao, dizi instructor
Duny Lam, yangqin and percussion instructor

Program Structure

The CYCS program mainly comprises of two groups:
1) Preparatory Instrument Classes (junior group)
2) CYCS Orchestra (senior group)

The Preparatory Instrument Class, often referred as the Junior group, comprises of beginning and beginning-intermediate students from age 6 or above. New students usually begin their learning journey in this group and it takes typically 3 years before they get promoted to the more advanced Senior group. The focus of the junior group is to learn skills and techniques on the instrument. Students meet weekly with their instrument instructor to work on techniques. There is also a supplementary junior orchestra rehearsal which will allow students to start learning about playing in an ensemble and how to play music with others.

The CYCS orchestra, often referred as the Senior group, have members who are age 9 or above and who have several years of studies on their instruments. Most students in the Senior group are promoted from the Junior group while some musicians may also get admitted to this program directly through audition or teacher’s recommendation. Senior group students are recommended to study their instrument with a private instructor regularly to continue to strengthen their instrument skills and techniques. The focus of the CYCS orchestra is on rehearsal and performance. Students meet weekly to rehearse with their instrument section and the entire orchestra. While mostly different styles of Chinese music are selected for practice, occasionally music from other genres may also be selected.

Learning Environment

CYCS aims to provide a supportive learning environment for all students. Often students grow and learn with encouragement from their classmates and teachers. Many students, family, and teachers become friends with each other. The joy of playing music with each other usually has a positive impact on student’s life experience. Typically a musician begin the music training at young age and remain as part of the CYCS family for many years. From the Junior group, get promoted to the Senior group, members stay active in rehearsing and performing until they graduate and attend college. Some students choose to continue to play music themselves after graduation and playing music becomes a lifelong enjoyment.


CYCS holds a recital (for all junior group students) and a formal music concert (for all members of CYCS) annually. The recital is a family oriented performance which allows students to showcase what they have learned to all parents and teachers. It is meant to give a supportive environment for beginning to intermediate students and gradually gain confidence on their performance. It is an important milestone for all students as they progress year by year. The CYCS concert is held in a theater or concert hall outside of CYCS. It provides a formal stage for students to perform. The performance is open to the public and it is one of the very few Chinese orchestra performances held in the Bay Area.

CYCS is a strong supporter for community services and performances. Throughout the year, CYCS members participate in many volunteer performances such as at libraries, senior centers, community celebrations, music and arts festival. The participation of these community events not only give opportunities for students to strengthen their performance skills, but also learn the importance of involvement and help enrich the cultural lives of the community.

CYCS’ parent organization, Chinese Musicians Association of America organizes CCOM Grade Level Instrument Examination and Huain Cup International Chinese Instrument Competition annually. While the examination lets students to obtain certification on their performance, the competition gives a different learning experience for students to strengthen not only their skills and techniques, but also stage appearance and confidence. Many CYCS members take advantage of these opportunities to become a better and well-rounded musician.

Click here to join the CYCS Program!

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