Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting, 1979
Pi Kappa Lambda (Music Honor Society)
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA at CHAPEL HILL
Bachelor of Music in Conducting and Performance, 1978
First Recipient of Undergraduate Conducting Degree
Performance: Voice and F Horn
ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Orchestral Conducting with Paul Vermel, 1981
Orchestral Conducting Masterclass with Erich Leinsdorf, 1978
Choral Conducting with Fiora Contino, 1979
|Kirk Trevor||Northwestern University, 2000|
Civic Orchestra of Chicago (ASOL), 1991
University of Akron (CG), 1990
|Gustav Meier||University of Michigan (ASOL), 1988|
|Sir George Solti||Civic Orchestra of Chicago (ASOL), 1981|
Orchestral Society of Philadelphia (ASOL), 1980
Civic Orchestra of Chicago (ASOL), 1980
|2000--||Music Director/Conductor||Waukegan Symphony (IL)|
|1996||Guest Conductor||Richmond Symphonyy|
|1995||Guest Conductor||Sacramento Symphony|
|1983-94||Music Director/Conductor||Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra|
|1992||Guest Conductor||Bremerton Symphony (WA)|
|1990||Guest Conductor||Chicago String Ensemble|
|1988-90||Music Director/Conductor||Illinois Valley Symphony|
|1986-90||Conductor||Salt Creek Ballet (IL)|
|1979-83||Assistant Conductor||Fox River Valley Symphony (IL)|
|2000, 01||Conductor||da Corneto Opera of Chicago|
|1989||Guest Conductor||Augusta Opera Company|
|1996||Guest Conductor||Opera in the Park - Greenville, NC|
|1985-87||Conductor||The Opera Factory - Chicago|
|1985-87||Guest Conductor||Northeastern IL University Opera|
|1982-85||Assistant Conductor||Chicago Opera Theater|
|1977||Assistant Conductor||Harford Opera Theatre (MD)|
|1992-06||Conductor||Ars Musica Chicago|
|1999-2002||Director of Music||Community Presbyterian Church (IL)|
|1997||Music Director||The Lost Colony Chorale (NC)|
|1993-95||Director of Music||Second Unitarian Church, Chicago|
|1993-95||Music Director||Maine Township Chorale (IL)|
|1988-90||Director of Music||First Presbyterian Church, Lake Forest (IL)|
|1987-89||Music Director||Camerata Singers of Lake Forest (IL)|
|1988||Guest Conductor||Downers Grove Oratorio Society|
|1981-88||Director of Music||North Shore Unitarian Church (IL)|
|1980-82||Chorusmaster||Hinsdale Opera Theatre|
|1980-81||Interim Director of Music||First Presbyterian Church of Evanston (IL)|
|1976-78||Music Director||Westminster Presbyterian, Durham (NC)|
Academic Music Programs
Director, DePaul Community Chorus
Recruit, audition, rehearse and conduct concerts of 140-voice community chorus and chamber singers’ ensemble for Community Music Division of large urban university. Schedule and contract guest soloists and accompanying orchestral ensembles for major works. Prepare chorus and coordinate with greater university community for annual “Christmas at DePaul” concert series.
1995-97EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
Director of Orchestras & Opera
Supervised all aspects of Orchestral program including consultation on auditions and seating, scheduling and rehearsing 7 concerts with the East Carolina Symphony Orchestra and newly formed Chamber Orchestra, budgeting and procurement of musical materials and guest musicians, collaborating with distinguished faculty, student and guest soloists. Supervised all aspects of Opera program including auditions and casting, budgeting and procurement of materials and professional support staff/ guest artists, scheduling and rehearsing 4 opera scenes performances and one full concert presentation with orchestra. Additional activities included private conducting instruction in spring semester, supervision of 4 graduate students and 1 undergraduate work-study student in orchestra or opera related duties, guest lecturer and choral conductor, guest clinician for High School Choral Festival and regional high school string workshop.
1991-92NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Director of Orchestras
Supervised all aspects of orchestral program during sabbatical vacancy: ran auditions and prepared seating assignments, rehearsed and conducted 10 concerts with NIU Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir, collaborated with distinguished faculty soloists including the Vermeer Quartet, taught undergraduate conducting sequence and graduate seminar, served as guest lecturer in additional classes and workshops.
1986-88LAKE FOREST COLLEGE
Director of Choral Music
Recruited, auditioned, rehearsed and conducted concerts of College Choir and Madrigal Ensemble for small liberal arts college, designed and taught general survey/music appreciation course for non-majors, assisted instrumental faculty in recruiting, rehearsals, etc.
1985-87NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Guest Opera Conductor
Conducted coachings, staging/orchestral rehearsals and multiple performances of three full-length, fully staged opera productions with student/faculty casts and "town and gown" orchestral forces.
Church Music Programs
1999-02COMMUNITY PRESBYTERIAN, Clarendon Hills
Director of Music
Administered full music program of 4 graded choirs plus handbells, supervised professional staff of musicians/teachers (including search for organist and children’s choir director), initiated concert/ recital series with guest artists and church musicians. Scheduled physical rehearsal and performance requirements for all ensembles (times and locations) and coordinated master schedule of worship services and special performances during church year. Developed, implemented and managed budget, including approval and funding of computer and music library projects. As member of senior staff, attended weekly meetings with professional and support team about day-to-day administration and long range planning of financial, educational and program goals of the greater church program.
1993-95SECOND UNITARIAN, Chicago
Director of Music
Directed 30-voice adult choir in weekly rehearsals and services including close collaboration with minister and lay presenters on service theme, musical requirements, etc. Supervised staff pianist/ accompanist in selection and preparation of service music; planned and prepared larger choral works several times during church year as well as chamber music and guest artists for services. Was responsible (with music committee) for preparation of church music budget, musical instrument maintenance and successful procurement of new grand piano and organ donation.
1988-90FIRST PRESBYTERIAN, Lake Forest
Director of Music
Administered extensive music program of 4 graded choirs, 2 handbell groups and resident brass ensemble, supervised professional staff of musicians/ teachers, initiated concert/ recital series with guest artists and church musicians. Scheduled physical rehearsal and performance requirements for all ensembles (times and locations) and coordinated master schedule of worship services and special performances during church year. Developed, implemented and managed budget, including approval and special funding of major purchases (grand pianos, computer, sound system). As member of senior staff, attended weekly meetings with professional and support team about day-to-day administration and long range planning of financial, educational and program goals of the greater church program.
1981-88NORTH SHORE UNITARIAN, Deerfield
Director of Music
Directed 24-voice adult choir in weekly rehearsals and services including close collaboration with minister and lay presenters on service theme, musical requirements etc. Supervised staff organist/ accompanist in selection and preparation of service music; plan and prepare larger choral/orchestral works several times during church year as well as chamber music and guest artists for services. Responsible for preparation of church music budget, musical instrument maintenance and successful procurement of new grand piano.
1983-91HINSDALE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Music Director/General Manager
Directed transition process from amateur to professional orchestra: supervised announcement/booking of auditions, hiring/contracting of solo and orchestra musicians on seasonal schedule as well as booking of rehearsal and performance facilities. Developed, implemented and managed budget, supervised PR effort including layout/design of logo and season brochures, directed liaison to local press, assisted with Board development, counseled on long range planning and hire of salaried General Manager.
1988, 91 AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA LEAGUE
National Conference Staff
Assisted Director of Orchestra Services at Chicago conferences as liaison with local composers forum, personal VIP host/assistant, panel coordinator and moderator, joined conference staff as resource for communications and session documentation/evaluation.
1979-80CLASSIC CHORALE, Evanston
Set up and managed office, created and supervised subscription sales and ticketing procedures, developed promotional and print materials including ad-book and concert programs, scheduled and booked concert and rehearsal facilities, initiated development effort, counseled on long range planning, successfully assisted Music Director and Board of Directors.
"Stephen Blackwelder's superbly trained orchestra gave a technicolor-drenched account of the score." (MADAMA BUTTERFLY)
“The result is musical splendor, and it showed…everything a finicky listener might want; not only exceptional voices and a fine orchestra….” “Under Stephen Blackwelder’s devoted direction the orchestra’s playing was polished and precise.” (UN BALLO IN MASCHERA)
"In the pit, adding greatly to the enjoyment is the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Blackwelder, which gives an excellent account of the beloved Tchaikovsky score..."
"Guest Conductor Stephen Blackwelder gave a warmly expressive account of Dello Joio's Air for Strings and led Lee Burswald's neo-romantic impressions of Chicago with Heatherington as the eloquent solo violin." (Chicago String Ensemble)
Robert C. Marsh
"A few words of highest commendation for the outstanding work of Blackwelder. He is a tremendous asset to the orchestra, capable of eliciting beautiful melodies, intensity and, when needed, drama from the musicians of the orchestra. He seems to be at his best when playing the sonorous, life-giving, almost magical music of composers such as Dvorak. Blackwelder's ability to celebrate life's beauty and mystery in so many of the pieces he conducts is one of the special qualities that make the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra a particularly appealing ensemble."
The Hinsdale Doings (IL)
"Stephen Blackwelder conducted with authority and clear-sightedness, steering the orchestra through the energetic double dotting of the lento of the overture into an extremely fast allegro. This was a very carefully prepared and rehearsed DIDO AND AENEAS, with an energetic orchestra and conductor."
The Hinsdale Doings
"Chorus master Stephen Blackwelder's aggregation sang well and accurately, and did a superb job as the hilariously confused police force in act two." (Hinsdale Opera Theatre)
The Chicago Reader
"Sunday's concert brought new levels of orchestral continuity, sound and ensemble. (Stephen Blackwelder's) empathy with the orchestra and feeling for the music is obvious. Emerging is an air of confidence and assurance and fluidity of movement that is a joy to watch."
The Hinsdale Doings
"The orchestra (was) skillfully conducted by Stephen Blackwelder." (A STREET SCENE)
Kurt Weill Newsletter
Jeffrey A. Klepper
"Also we have to underline the services of the conductor Mr. Stephen Blackwelder, a very capable and intelligent musician, who led the performances smoothly and in a highly distinguished manner." (The Opera Factory)
Panorama, National Polish
Monthly of the Creative Arts
Professor Jerzy Dobrzynski
"The Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra, under the excellent direction of Stephen Blackwelder, presented Mozart's Prague Symphony in D Major. It is considered to be one of his five symphonic masterpieces, and the orchestra played it masterfully."
The Hinsdale Doings
"Guest conductor Stephen Blackwelder conducted a marvelous instrument with which to sing, and the voices of the cast sounded better for it." (A STREET SCENE)
Print (Chicago, IL)
"It was a triumph of programming, of soloing, of musicmaking and of conducting. Conductor Blackwelder drew a depth of sonority from the small orchestra which was nothing short of amazing."
The Hinsdale Doings
"The Caldara STABAT MATER was conducted by Stephen Blackwelder, who wisely turned its duets and trios into 'semi choruses,' sung by smaller ensembles within the group of chamber singers culled from the 63 voice chorale." (The Classic Chorale)
The Evanston Review (IL)
"In addition to the Mozart pieces, Blackwelder led selections by Liszt, Copland and Borodin's 'Symphony No. 2 in B Minor' with dynamism, precise cuing, well-defined tempos and great enthusiasm for the music." (Southwest Symphony)
The Beverly Review (IL)
"As directed by chorusmaster Stephen Blackwelder, the singers project gusto and verve. They alone provide the most stirring, memorable music..." (Opera Illinois)
Chicago Sun-Times (Suburban)