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Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra - New Management

We are excited to announce that the Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra is welcoming new management for our upcoming season. Brian Ostrega will be the new Music Director for the 2024-25 season, and Mason Spencer will be coming on board as Executive Director and Orchestra Manager. Many of our veteran members will know Brian as our assistant director and IOP instructor. We are so thrilled he has taken on the mantle of Music Director, and will now be leading all three programs: Incredible Opportunity Program, SYSJO, and SYSO.

You can find more information about Brian Ostrega and Mason Spencer in their complete biographies below:

Brian Ostrega has been teaching with the Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra since 2021

and is thrilled to continue his work with SYSO as its new Music Director.

Mr. Ostrega began his musical studies playing violin when he was five years old. His first

orchestra experience was through the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO), playing

with them from grammar school through high school, under the private instruction and tutelage

of Terrance Gray. From his involvement with CYSO, he decided to further his musical studies in

college. After graduating from University of Illinois (B.M. ’13) and graduating from Roosevelt

University’s Chicago College of the Performing Arts (M.M. ’15) with degrees in Violin

Performance, he won performing positions with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, followed by first

violin seats with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

(IPO) where he regularly performs.

In addition to a thriving orchestral career, Mr. Ostrega, together with pianist Stephen Uhl,

formed Ostrega Uhl Project, an ensemble dedicated to playing chamber music featuring local

professional artists to educate and entertain audiences. He also takes great enjoyment in his

administrative role as IPO’s Orchestra Librarian.

Mr. Ostrega formally began teaching private lessons in 2017 and since then has grown

successful violin studios at Beverly Arts Center, Blue Island Music, and Trinity Christian


As its previous Assistant Director, SYSO provided Mr. Ostrega a unique venture incorporating

his group beginner violin lessons into the Glenwood School District and to Crete-Monee Middle

School. This has been done in a collective effort by arts organizations and academic institutions to revitalize string education in the south suburbs.

As Music Director of SYSO, Mr. Ostrega strives to give a well rounded music education to all

students. This includes providing beginners a musical foundation on which to grow through the

Incredible Opportunity Program, introduce intermediate level students to basic conducting

elements and ensemble playing in the Junior Orchestra, and strengthen students’ technical

abilities and musical interpretation through its primary ensemble, Suburban Youth Symphony

Orchestra. With his leadership, Mr. Ostrega envisions the Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra to provide anenjoyable learning experience for its aspiring young professionals. He is honored to lead all

music ensembles as SYSO’s Music Director.


As a violist with a Bachelor of Music and Performers Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Mason Spencer is a strong advocate for new music, and is dedicated to expanding the breadth of the classical canon through commissions and performance. 

His passion for musical variety has led to collaborations with storytellers, singers, a variety of chamber and orchestral ensembles, and even a soloistic tea kettle. As a performer, he has toured internationally as a member of the Sileo Quartet, toured nationally with video game shows Undertale and Journey LIVE as a member of the Fifth House Ensemble, performed at the inaugural Patreon Assembly in Los Angeles, and with the Chrysalis Rock Orchestra in New York. Mason can currently be found performing with the Civic Orchestra as a Civic Fellow. 

As an educator, he has conducted workshops and seminars at universities across the United States, including at University of Milwaukee, Denison University, and Southeast Missouri State University- while also maintaining an active teaching schedule at home in Chicago.

Mason firmly believes in the importance of providing amazing, fun and challenging performance opportunities for young musicians. He is looking forward to working with SYSO strategically and artistically to provide exciting programming. Even more so, Mason is looking forward to bringing his energy and passion to work alongside the organization  and getting to know the students and families in the program.


We hope you will join us for our new adventure this fall. If you are interested in auditioning, or know someone who would like to audition, please visit We will be working hard this summer to prepare a great program this fall, and ensure a smooth transition with our new administration.

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