STEPHEN ALLTOP has built a career based on excellence in several disciplines, conducting both orchestral and choral ensembles, and performing as a keyboard artist. The 2022-2023 season marks his twenty-sixth year as Music Director of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. Mr. Alltop is the ninth music director in the 151-year history of the chorus. Under his direction, the Apollo Chorus performed a concert of contemporary music for the 2022 regional conference of the American Choral Directors Association, and expanded its collaborations to include appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, London Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, Peninsula Music Festival, Lollapalooza and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Stephen Alltop also serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. He was named 2022 Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras for his work with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.
A specialist in oratorio and historical performance practice, Dr. Alltop is been a member of the conducting and keyboard faculties at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where he conducts the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and the Baroque Music Ensemble. During the early pandemic, he collaborated with Northwestern University opera director Joachim Schamberger to create Orfeo Remote, two feature-length films of Monteverdi’s opera from over 3,000 separate recordings made by student and guest musicians. In the present academic year, he is helping organize festivals with acclaimed scholars and performers around the music of William Byrd and George Frideric Handel, and conducting the world premiere recording of Stacy Garrop’s oratorio Terra Nostra for Cedille Records.
Mr. Alltop has guest conducted numerous orchestras and choruses across the United States, Italy and South Korea. In June of 2022, he stepped in on three-hours notice to lead the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in a program of Beethoven, Schubert and Tchaikovsky broadcast live on WFMT Radio. He has worked closely with leading composers of the day, including residency projects with John Corigliano, Eleanor Daley, Stacy Garrop, Stephen Paulus and Eric Whitacre, and has conducted world premieres of works by John Luther Adams, Frank Ferko, Fabrizio Festa, Stacy Garrop, Stephen Paulus, and many others. In 2007, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting music of Eric Whitacre.
Stephen Alltop has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as both a harpsichord and organ soloist. He has performed with the Joffrey Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, and each season with Music of the Baroque of Chicago. Alltop served as Coordinator for WFMT’s Bach Organ Project in 2014, and the WFMT Bach Keyboard Festival in 2015, and has performed as a keyboard artist across Europe.
Alltop has worked as a score reader in numerous concerts filmed for television on Great Performances and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During the pandemic, he collaborated with many organizations to create dozens of video features and filmed full length concerts.
An advocate for diversity in programming, he has sought to bring attention to under-represented composers in both the orchestral and choral realm. Dr. Alltop lectures frequently about music for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern University Alumnae Continuing Education Series and Osher Lifelong Learning. Since 2014, he has given presentations on leadership for various programs in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.