CBA Symphony Orchestra

The CBA Symphony Orchestra is designed for all CBA members who are interested in participating in an orchestra or in smaller chamber ensembles. Rehearsals are held at the CBA and public performances are scheduled from September through May. Orchestra members must be CBA members in good standing with the Association. Annual dues to help defray costs are $50 Student, $100 Member and $150 Supporting Members (minimum).

Auditions are not required, but openings in some sections may be limited due to musical staffing requirements. In general, the Orchestra can usually accept additional string players and low brass players. Openings for other instruments are very limited (please inquire). Please direct all inquiries via email to

For further information about the CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, visit

Rehearsals: Wednesdays at 6:00-8:15 p.m. at the CBA Building

The CBA Symphony Orchestra is in need of 4 double basses and principal trombone. Contact Michael Poulos for details.

History of the Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra is Chicagoland's unique orchestra of attorneys, judges and law students. Growing from just a handful of musicians at its first rehearsal in 1986, the CBASO now regularly fields an orchestra of 75 musicians or more, virtually all affiliated with Chicago's legal community.

The musical momentum initiated by a small group of lawyers has grown into today's CBASO, a musical group collaborating to present exciting and increasingly challenging musical works each season. Under the direction of professional conductor and founding music director, David Katz, the CBASO has performed in venues ranging from Daley Center courtrooms to Chicago's Symphony Center.

The orchestra performs at many public events for the Chicago Bar Association, its prime sponsor, including annual Law Day celebrations on Daley Plaza. Other notable performances have included the Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration at Navy Pier with famed author Doris Kearns Goodwin, and a 2010 gala for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. The orchestra is also noted for having presented the very first performances of Gilbert and Sullivan's courtroom operetta, Trial By Jury, in a working courtroom, with a cast, orchestra and chorus made up entirely of legal professionals.

To mark its 20th anniversary in 2006, the CBASO performed Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at Navy Pier on the final evening of the convention of World Bar Associations. In 2011 the CBASO, CBA Chorus and guest choirs, nearly 300 musicians in all, performed Carl Orff's Carmina Burana at Symphony Center to a sell-out crowd to celebrate the Orchestra's 25th anniversary. The chorus and orchestra returned to Symphony Center in 2015 to present "Something Wonderful!", an evening of music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and “Ode to Joy” in 2019, a concert featuring the choral finale of the Beethoven 9th Symphony and music by Lowry (premiere), Schumann, Mozart and Saint-Saens.


Chamber Music Recital

Members and friends of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform a chamber music concert. Solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, pieces with voice (or voices) up to a small chamber orchestra are welcome. Selections are limited to one movement. Venues have been at St. James Episcopal Cathedral and PianoForte Chicago. Details for the next concert will be announced here. For more information please contact Emily Chen.

Law Day:
In conjunction with the YLS Law Week Program either the Barristers Big Band, the Chorus, or Symphony Orchestra will perform at the annual noon-time celebration at Daley Plaza the first week of May. This year's theme is “Voices of Democracy” to be held May 1, 2024 with the Barristers Big Band. The event features a keynote address (often by a jurist of Cook County, the Illinois Appellate Court, or Illinois Supreme Court) and presentation of the annual Liberty Bell Award honoring a non-lawyer who has rendered service that strengthens the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law. Music will be conducted by John Vishneski, bandleader and clarinetist:
1. Sun Valley Jump
2. Pennies From Heaven
3. A Foggy Day in London Town
4. Your Mother’s Son-in-Law
5. Jazz Police 

The Symphony Orchestra is on YouTube! Click here to check us out!

From CARMINA BURANA. David Katz conducting the CBASO, CBA Chorus, Guest Choirs and Soloists

From "SOMETHING WONDERFUL," with the CBASO, CBA Chorus, Guest Choirs and Soloists

From "SOMETHING WONDERFUL," with the CBASO, CBA Chorus, Guest Choirs and Soloists

The HALLELUJAH CHORUS (from "ODE to JOY"): new arrangement by Jamie Whitmarsh with the CBASO, CBA Chorus, Guest Choirs and Soloists

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