DMus, Northwestern University

A conductor, harpsichordist, and organist, Stephen Alltop is Director of Music for Alice Millar Chapel, conductor of the Baroque Music Ensemble, and Senior Lecturer in conducting, harpsichord, and oratorio in the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. A specialist in oratorio performance, he has conducted over 100 oratorio and operatic masterworks. He also serves as music director for the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. Under his direction, the Apollo Chorus has expanded its collaborations to include appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lollapalooza, the London Symphony Orchestra, Ravinia Festival, Josh Groban on Tour, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Recent performances with Chicago Opera Theater have included Rachmninoff's Aleko, Joby Talbot's Everest and Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger. In 2022, he was named Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras for his work with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has received multiple awards for excellence in programming. He has also been named to Northwestern’s Faculty Honor Roll.

Dr. Alltop has guest-conducted numerous choruses and orchestras across the United States and Italy. He has led opera and orchestral concerts with numerous Italian orchestras, including I Soloisti di Perugia, Fondazione Arturo Toscanini (Bologna), Teatro Reggio Orchestra (Parma), Festival Mozart (Roverto), Orchestra Sinfonica della Provincia di Bari, Teatro Piccinni (Bari), and the Festival Duni (Matera). In February 2013, he was a guest conductor for the International School Choral Music Society in Busan, South Korea. In June of 2022, he stepped in on four hours’ notice to lead the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in a program of Beethoven, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky that was broadcast live on WFMT. He returned to conduct the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra in August of 2023.

Stephen Alltop is a passionate advocate for under-represented composers in both the orchestral and choral realm. He has worked closely with leading composers of the day, including significant projects with Michael Abels, Jeff Beal, John Corigliano, Eleanor Daley, Stephen Paulus and Eric Whitacre, and has conducted world premieres of works by John Luther Adams, Jan Bach, Miguel del Agila, Frank Ferko, Fabrizio Festa, Stephen Paulus, Joseph Schwantner, Alan Terricciano, and many others. The Champaign-Urbana Symphony was recently named a recipient of a Music Alive grant from New Music USA and the League of American Symphony Orchestras, which placed composer Stacy Garrop in residence with the orchestra from 2016-2019. A recording of Garrop’s Terra Nostra featuring the Alice Millar Chapel Choir, the Northwestern University Chorale and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra will be released on Cedille Records in April of 2024.

An active musician in historic performance practices, Stephen Alltop has performed with many of today’s outstanding early music musicians, including Julianne Baird, Elizabeth Blumenstock, David Douglass, Ellen Hargis, Ingrid Matthews, Kenneth Slowik and Ton Koopman. He has performed as a harpsichordist and organist with Boston's Handel and Haydn Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Bach Project, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Omaha Symphony. Dr. Alltop has served as principal organist for Soli Deo Gloria’s Chicago Bach Project. In 2011, he was principal organist performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and conductor John Nelson at the Basilique St. Denis in France. As conductor of the Annual Celebration of Celtic Music at Chicago’s Symphony Center, he has worked with distinguished television and stage performers such as Brian Dennehy, Bill Kurtis, John Mahoney, Martin Sheen and Senator George Mitchell. In 2014 he coordinated and performed as part of the WFMT Bach Organ Project which included the complete organ works of Bach. In the Fall of 2015, Alltop served as a recitalist, coordinator and concert host for the WFMT Bach Keyboard Festival in Chicago, a presentation of the complete keyboard works of Bach. His performances have been broadcast on Medici TV, RAI Italian Radio and Television, and the WFMT Fine Arts Network. His recordings can be found on the Albany, Cedille, Clarion, and American Gramaphone labels.

In demand as a speaker about music, Dr. Alltop lectures frequently for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern University Alumnae Continuing Education Series, Osher Lifelong Learning, and many other organizations. Since 2014, he has given presentations on leadership for various programs in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Upcoming Events

Bienen Ensembles

May 11, 2024 7:00pm

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert

Alice Millar Chapel


Bienen ensembles, faculty and special guests celebrate William Byrd

September 22, 2022

Bienen School celebrates the season with winter holiday concerts

November 4, 2021

Northwestern Opera Theater launches ‘Orfeo remote’ mini-series

December 14, 2020

Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo Goes Remote To Meet The Times

November 9, 2020

Orfeo Goes Remote

September 17, 2020

See All News


Chapel Choir


Baroque Music Ensemble



The Making of Orfeo Remote, An Online Opera

Stephen Alltop and Joachim Schamberger

Mascagni - Intermezzo sinfonico and Regina coeli

Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Puccini - Missa di Gloria

Alice Millar Chapel Choir and Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra