Director - DePaul Community Chorus
MM Northwestern University
BM University of North Carolina
DePaul Community Chorus
Particularly noted for his fluent work with singers and choral groups,
Stephen Blackwelder is
currently celebrating his twelfth season as director of the DePaul Community
Chorus. Under his direction, the DCC has grown to 150 members and recently
collaborated with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago in performances of Duruflé’s
Requiem, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bruckner’s Mass in D Minor, Haydn’s Mass
in Time of War and Brahms’ Requiem.
Now in his seventeenth season as Music Director of the Waukegan Symphony
Orchestra, his 2016-17 schedule includes four subscription concerts with that
ensemble, three concerts with the DCC and annual appearances at the
ever-popular “Christmas at DePaul” concerts.
Choral music has always been an active component of Blackwelder’s
musical life and he has led performances of the Downer’s Grove Oratorio
Society, Camerata Singers of Lake Forest, Waukegan Festival Chorus and numerous
university, church and temple ensembles. Formerly conductor of the early music
ensemble Ars Musica Chicago, he led that group in numerous concerts and
recordings over 8 concert seasons. As an accomplished professional singer, he
performed frequently under such conductors as Robert Shaw, James Levine, Sir
Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado and Margaret Hillis while a member of the Aspen
Chamber Choir and Chicago Symphony Chorus.
A former Music Director of the Hinsdale
Chamber Orchestra, he continues to attract and delight audiences with fresh,
innovative programming and an informal and appealing concert style. Highlights of past seasons include performances
with celebrated flautist Carol Wincenc, Metropolitan Opera artists Jane
Bunnell, Richard Leech and Nancy Gustafson, Chicago Symphony principals Ruben
Gonzalez and John Sharp, and the NIU Philharmonic with soloists from the famed
Vermeer Quartet. Guest conducting engagements include the Richmond, Bremerton
and Sacramento Symphonies, as well as the Chicago String Ensemble, where
he was praised for his “warmly expressive conducting” by Robert Marsh of the Chicago
A native of North Carolina, Blackwelder was the first undergraduate to
receive a Bachelor of Music in conducting and voice from UNC-Chapel Hill.
During his studies for the Master of Music degree at Northwestern University,
he assisted Grigg Fountain with the Alice Millar Chapel Choir in addition to
his duties with orchestral and opera groups. Professional study includes four
seasons with the renowned Aspen Music Festival and master classes with Sir
Georg Solti, Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf.