New leader in the concert hall
Meet Maestro Stephen Alltop, the new conductor of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. The Evanston resident/keyboard artist is a busy man. He also directs the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra & Green Lake Choral Institute and teaches full time at Northwestern. Here are a few more tidbits about Alltop and CUSO
1. At 7:30 tonight (Saturday, Feb. 1) in Krannert Center's Foellinger Great Hall, Alltop will conduct the C-U Symphony in his second classics concert with the orchestra, now in its 54th season. The maestro promises that the program, "Classic Gems," will be a "winter delight."
2. The biggest piece, the finale, is Beethoven's Symphony No. 7; Alltop calls it the "shining Seventh" and a work of amazing vitality and energy. "Few pieces make me feel more alive," he says. Alltop considers it Beethoven's best and it's said Beethoven did too.
3. Another classic gem on the program: Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17, with guest artist James Giles on piano. "He's a very elegant player with a wide repertoire," Alltop says. "I have the feeling he will be fantastic with the elegance of this concerto."
4. Alltop calls the third piece, Walter Piston's "Serenata," a perfect 20th century complement to the 19th century gems. Professor Piston was a music professor at Harvard and important figure in mid 20th century music. "This piece has a distinctly American feel," the maestro says.