Featured Artists | 2012-2013 Concert Season
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 is Music Director of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, the Green Lake Choral Institute, and is the Associate Conductor of the Peninsula Music Festival. From 2000-2008, Mr. Alltop was the Music Director and Conductor of the Cheyenne Symphony in Wyoming. In the past two seasons, Stephen Alltop led the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra into a new permanent concert venue and also in the orchestra’s first- ever appearances at Chicago’s Harris Theater and Rockefeller Chapel. The ESO won the Illinois Council of Orchestra’s Programming of the Year Award for the 2009-2010 season. In recent seasons, the Apollo Chorus has established itself as one of Chicago’s most in- demand choral ensembles. In the 2010-11 season, the Chorus appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and performed Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem on the Wheaton College Artist Series, Puccini’s Tosca at the Ravinia Festival with Bryn Terfel and the Chicago Symphony, and Verdi’s Requiem at the Peninsula Music Festival. Apollo and the ESO have collaborated in works such as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem and Verdi’s Requiem.
Mr. Alltop has served as a member of Northwestern University’s conducting and keyboard faculties since 1994 where he conducts the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and the Baroque Music Ensemble. Mr. Alltop has guest conducted numerous orchestras and choruses across the United States. 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). He has worked closely with leading composers of the day, including residency projects with John Corigliano, Eleanor Daley and Eric Whitacre, and has conducted world premieres of works by Jan Bach, Miguel del Agila, Françoise Choveaux, Frank Ferko, Fabrizio Festa, Ricardo Iznaola, Stephen Paulus, Maxwell Raimi, Giancarlo Scarvaglieri, Alan Terricciano, Hiroaki Tokunaga and many others. In 2007, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting music of Eric Whitacre.
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 Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and conductor John Nelson at the Basilique St. Denis. As a harpsichordist and organist, he has performed with the Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffrey Ballet, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, 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 CD’s 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. Stephen Alltop is represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management.
Born and raised in Strasbourg, France, Soprano Nathalie Colas made a critically acclaimed stage debut as Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte at Theater Biel Solothurn in Switzerland. She sang Julia in Boris Blacher’s Romeo und Julia as well as 2nd woman in Purcell Dido and Aeneas with the Amadeus Orchester Bern, Serpina in Anfossi’s Il curioso indiscreto, Rosina in Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Opéra de Chambre de Genève), and most recently Alceste in Myslivecek’s Antigona in an award winning production in Hungary and Switzerland .She was also heard as Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Norina (Don Pasquale), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Gianetta (L’Elisir d’Amor) In the summer of 2012, she was invited to perform opera arias in concert with the Park Ridge Orchestra under Maestro James Setapen. Also in demand as a concert soloist, Nathalie sang Bach’s Trauerode with the Brussels Baroque Ensemble, F.X. Richter’s Mass in C, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle, the Dvorak Requiem, and Schubert Mass in B in Switzerland. She was also featured in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass in St Louis MO. Very interested in New Music, Nathalie has participated in world premiers of works by Aperghis, Dusapin and Christophe Bertrand. With the Voix de Stras’, Ensemble de Chambre de Strasbourg, she recorded a CD of premiering vocal pieces by internationally promising young European composers. She is also a fervent performer of early music, and was most recently featured as the soprano soloist in The Chicago Bach Ensemble debut concert series, including BWV 82 Ich habe genug and BWV 57 Selig ist der Mann. She will be singing 2nd Lady with Haymarket Opera in Chicago in 2013. A graduate from DePaul University School of Music, Nathalie holds a MA in Classical singing and baroque chamber music from the Brussels Royal Flemish Conservatory as well as a Specialized MA in Opera from the Swiss Opera Studio/Hochschule der Künste Bern. She sang in Masterclasses with Edith Wiens, Roger Vignoles, Hartmut Höll and others as part of the Udo Reinemann’s International Lied Masterclass in Brussels with her duo partner Belgian pianist Ludovic Van Hellemont. The duo regularly gives recitals in Belgium, France and Switzerland.
Tenor Cornelius Johnson’s voice has been described as “expressive and soaring” (The Post Standard). Career highlights include performances at the Opera Bastille in Paris, La Scala in Milan, the Bunkamura Theater, with the Tokyo Philharmonic, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago “Opera In The Neighborhoods”, Chautauqua Opera, Connecticut Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Elgin Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Memphis, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Shreveport Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, and at the Ravinia Music Festival. Mr. Johnson has performed both leading and supporting roles in Carmen, La Boheme, The Magic Flute, Djamileh, Porgy and Bess, Tosca, and Don Pasquale. On the concert stage Mr. Johnson has performed at Atlanta's Symphony Center and Spivey Hall, Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, the Chicago Cultural Center, and with the Racine, Wheaton, New Millennium, Chicago Chamber and the Robert Shaw Festival Orchestras. Mr. Johnson holds memberships in the Chicago Music Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and The American Choral Directors Association. In addition to a busy performance schedule, Mr. Johnso