Stephen Blackwelder is currently director of the DePaul Community Chorus (since 2005) and director of the Chicago Bar Association Chorus (since 2017). This past spring, he successfully completed an 18-season tenure as music director of the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra. Previous positions include music director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra (1983-94) and numerous civic and educational orchestral, opera and choral ensembles in the greater Chicago area. As a professional singer, he performed frequently under conductors James Levine, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado and Margaret Hillis while a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Aspen Chamber Choir. He served on the conducting staff of the Harford Opera Theater of Baltimore, Hinsdale Opera, Opera Illinois, Opera da Corneto and Chicago Opera Theater. Academic teaching positions include Northern Illinois University, East Carolina University, Lake Forest College and currently DePaul University’s Community Music Division.
Blackwelder holds a BM from the University of North Carolina (1978) and a MM from Northwestern University (1979). Professional study included four seasons with the Aspen Music Festival and conducting master classes with Sir Georg Solti, Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf.