Stephen Alltop, Conductor

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Stephen Alltop, Conductor

Stephen Alltop, Conducting The Apollo Chorus of Chicago in Handel’s Messiah, Surely He Hath Borne our Griefs

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Steven Alltop
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Steven AlltopStephen Alltop has built a career based on excellence in several disciplines, conducting both orchestral and choral ensembles, and performing as a keyboard artist. The 2005-2006 season marks Mr. Alltop’s sixth as Music Director and Conductor of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of from the CSO’s past six years have included performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Brahms’ A German Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 5, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, Verdi’s Requiem, and a visit by composer John Corigliano for youth and subscription concerts devoted to his music. Writing of the Corigliano events for the Denver Post, Kyle MacMillan said “Three cheers for the Cheyenne Symphony – it did itself and the whole field proud.” Mr. Alltop has conducted many first performances for the Cheyenne Symphony, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and No. 5, Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, Schickele’s Symphony No. 1, and world premieres by Ricardo Iznaola and Fabrizio Festa.  Other collaborations in the past six seasons having taken place with Casper Community College, Cheyenne Chamber Singers, Laramie County Community College, Colorado University at Boulder, Colorado State University, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Denver University, Wyoming Public Radio and Wyoming Public Television.

The present season will be Mr. Alltop’s eleventh as Music Director of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.  Mr. Alltop has led many first performances for the Elmhurst Symphony, including Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1, 2 and 3. Under his direction, the ESO has completed a cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies, and premiered works by Jan Bach, James Clemens, Miguel del Agila, Frank Ferko, Maxwell Raimi, and Alan Terricciano.

The 2005-06 season marks Stephen Alltop’s ninth year as Music Director of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. Under his leadership, the Apollo Chorus has performed Beethoven’s Mass in C, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem, and sold-out performances of Handel’s Messiah in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The 2005-06 season includes Bach’s Mass in b minor, and a concert with composer Eric Whitacre.  In August of 2005, the Chorus performed Haydn’s The Creation under Stephen Alltop’s direction at the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. During the past few summers, Apollo has performed at the Ravinia Festival performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, and Weber’s Der Freischütz, collaborating with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Dale Warland Singers, and conductors James Conlon and Christoph Eschenbach. The Apollo Chorus is Chicago’s oldest musical organization, and the oldest continuous volunteer oratorio society in the United States. Mr. Alltop is the ninth music director in the 133-year history of the chorus.

Dr. Alltop has served on the conducting faculty of Northwestern University since 1992. Under his direction, the Alice Millar Chapel Choir has performed at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and masterworks such as Haydn’s The Creation, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Judas Maccabaeus and Solomon, and masses of Haydn, Mozart and Schubert.  The 2005-06 academic year includes cantatas by J. S. Bach, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and three concerts with composer Eric Whitacre.  He will also conduct the Northwestern Contemporary Music Ensemble in a concert saluting composer Ned Rorem.

Mr. Alltop has appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras and choruses across the United States, including the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, Greeley Philharmonic, Lake Forest Symphony, Peoria Symphony, West Shore Symphony in Michigan, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Omaha Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. In 2001, Stephen Alltop was featured as part of the American Symphony Orchestra’s National Conductors Preview. In the summer of 2003, Mr. Alltop made his European conducting debut with the Fondazione Arturo Toscani Orchestra in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, conducting five world premieres before an audience of 3,500.  The summer of 2005 included performances at the Sewanee Music Festival, the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin, and his second season as Music Director of the Green Lake Choral Institute in Wisconsin.  He has collaborated with many of today’s leading composers, conducting world premieres by Michael Abels, Françoise Choveaux, Jan Bach, Miguel del Aguila, Frank Ferko, Ricardo Iznaola, Alan Terricciano, Hiroaki Tokunagu, and many others.

The 2002 Cedille label recording entitled “The Divas of Mozart’s Day” was Alltop’s first as a conductor. Featuring soprano Patrice Michaels and the Classical Arts Orchestra, this disc has received critical praise in over 20 publications internationally, including Opera News, Billboard, and Fanfare.  He conducted a CD for the Albany label featuring soprano Julianne Baird and music of Antonio Caldara which was released in 2004.  Another CD of Baroque works on the Albany label with soprano Julianne Baird, with Darin Kelly, trumpet and Stephen Alltop, organ, was released in 2002.  He has also recorded Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 on the American Gramaphone label.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Stephen Alltop holds Master of Music degrees in Conducting and Organ from the Eastman School of Music. He also received a Bachelor of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from Eastman, where he graduated with Highest Distinction. He holds the Doctor of Music Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern. As a harpsichordist and organist, he has appeared as a soloist with ensembles across the United States, including the Chicago Baroque Ensemble, Symphony II, Omaha Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, and Chicago Sinfonietta.  He has performed with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyra Concert Baroque Orchestra, Lyric Opera, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and the Ravinia Festival. Stephen Alltop is represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management.