DePaul University School of Music > Community Music > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Stephen Blackwelder

Stephen Blackwelder

Stephen Blackwelder
Teaching Area(s)
Director - DePaul Community Chorus

MM Northwestern University
BM University of North Carolina

Courses Taught
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 Sun-Times.

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.