Stephen Alltop has built a career based on excellence in several disciplines, conducting both orchestral and choral ensembles, and performing as a keyboard artist. He serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and the Apollo Chorus of Chicago.
A specialist in oratorio, opera and performance practice, he has worked with leading musicians of our time, including conductors Harry Bicket, Jane Glover, Ton Koopman, Nicholas Kraemer, Nicholas McGegan, and renowned period instrument performers such as Julie Andrijeski, Elizabeth Blumenstock, Carla Moore, Ingrid Matthews, and Ensemble Dark Horse.
Dr. Alltop serves as 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 in a broad array of repertoire.
During COVID19, Stephen Alltop has worked with director and video artist Joachim Schamberger to create Orfeo Remote, an experimental opera film of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. A collaboration that brought together fifty students from the Bienen School of Music with Ensemble Dark Horse, ten distinguished early music musicians and scholar Jeffrey Kurtzman, Alltop edited and mastered 1,400 separate audio recordings while Schamberger utilized over 1,200 videos of the casts and orchestra to make two feature-length films for the this double-cast opera. To be released on YouTube in December, 2020.
Throughout COVID19, Alltop has been immersed in scripting, filming and recording several dozen video concerts, galas and benefits for the Apollo Chorus, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony, Music of the Baroque, Rembrandt Chamber Players, Bach Week in Evanston, and Northwestern University. He has given Zoom lectures and performance on many musical topics for organizations across the United States and the Dominican Republic.
As an ambassador for music, Stephen Alltop speaks to groups of all ages and backgrounds every year. He has given over 100 two-hour lectures on a variety of musical topics for the Northwestern Alumnae Association, and since 2014 has given presentations on conducting and leadership to MBA students and executives from around the world for the Kellogg School of Management, and organizations such as Music of the Baroque and Leadership Greater Chicago.
An ardent champion of contemporary music, Altop has conducted world premieres by Stacy Garrop, Stephen Paulus, Joseph Schwantner, John Luther Adams, Jan Bach, Françoise Choveaux, Frank Ferko, Fabrizio Festa, Giancarlo Scarvaglieri, Alan Terricciano, and many others. He has coordinated residencies for composers John Corigliano, Eleanor Daley, Stephen Paulus, Jeff Beal, Janika Vandervelde and Eric Whitacre. In 2007, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting music of Eric Whitacre. He has worked closely with Stacy Garrop in conducting and performing a wide variety of her orchestra, choral and chamber music. From 2017-2019, Stacy Garrop was composer in residence for the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra as part of a major Music Alive grant from New Music USA and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation.
Mr. Alltop has guest conducted numerous orchestras and choruses across the United States, Europe and South Korea. Engagements have included “A Celebration of Celtic Music” at Chicago’s Symphony Center, the Iowa All-State Orchestra, and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in Busan, South Korea for the International Schools Choral Music Society. He has led opera and orchestral concerts with a number of Italian orchestras, including I Soloisti di Perugia, Fondazione Arturo Toscanini (Bologna), Teatro Reggio Orchestra (Parma), Festival Mozart (Roverto), Orchestra Sinfonica (Bari), Teatro Piccinni (Bari), and the Festival Duni (Matera).
Dr. Alltop’s passion for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Frideric Handel has brought about opportunities to perform most of the major choral and orchestral works by both composers. From 2013-14, he organized, hosted and performed on a live concert series for WFMT Chicago of Bach’s complete works for organ and keyboard featuring 134 performers in 23 Chicago venues.
Stephen Alltop made his Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription concert debut as a harpsichord soloist in 2009 playing Bach with conductor Pinchas Zukerman. He appeared as an organ soloist with the CSO at the Ravinia Festival of 2008. In 2011, Mr. Alltop served as principal organist for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for Soli Deo Gloria’s Chicago Bach Project, and with the Orchestre de Chambre and conductor John Nelson at the Basilique St. Denis in Paris. As a keyboardist, he has performed with the Music of the Baroque, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Handel and Haydn Society, Omaha Symphony, and the Peninsula Music Festival.
Mr. Alltop has recorded Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 on the American Gramaphone label and a disc of baroque arias with soprano Julianne Baird and trumpeter Darin Kelly on the Albany label. As a conductor, his CDs include The Divas of Mozart’s Day with soprano Patrice Michaels on the Cedille label, operatic and chamber works of Antonio Caldara with soprano Julianne Baird on the Albany label, and Handel’s complete Messiah with the Apollo Chorus and Orchestra of Chicago on the Clarion label. A new recording of the choral music of Stephen Paulus will be released on the Centaur label in 2021. Stephen Alltop is represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management.