On Tuesday, Music of the Baroque returned to Parker for the culminating presentation of the Joan W. Harris Visiting Music Scholar in Residence program. Under the guidance of Conductor Stephen Alltop, Music of the Baroque—a resident ensemble at the Harris Theater that has provided Chicago with top-notch performances of the 17th and 18th centuries for nearly 50 years—dazzled the audience with their masterful play, good-humored presentation style and depth of knowledge.
This interactive and entertaining program focused on the art of conducting and featured discussion about the importance of leadership. After a brief history of conductors, Alltop had the audience try their hand(s) at becoming the conductors themselves by leading them through a set of exercises. He took this a step further by bringing two volunteers on stage and having them lead the musicians from Music of the Baroque personally!
Through historical information, the hands-on experiences with conducting and listening to a question and answer session with Alltop and his players, the audience had a much deeper understanding of the conductor’s role. Furthermore, hearing from Alltop on this role, the importance of communication, the dynamics of organizing his multiple ensembles and his thoughts on leadership is valuable as Parker strives to create responsible citizen leaders who will thrive in the future.