Engage with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra in its mission to ignite lifelong engagement with music through high-caliber performance, innovative programming and community collaboration.


The Elmhurst community has a long and proud tradition of coming together to enjoy well-performed symphonic music. The encouragement and generous financial support of the community has allowed the symphony to provide quality concerts for 59 years. In the 1940’s the Elmhurst Community Theatre Orchestra provided music between sets of summer plays at the Elmhurst Community Theatre. They also performed at schools, churches, parks and other civic functions. From 1959 to 1961 the Theatre Orchestra transitioned into the current organization led by its first Music Director John Lazich. The first performance of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra was on November 19, 1961. 

The last thirty years has seen the successful accomplishment of more diverse and complex musical challenges and more and more talented professional musicians becoming a part of our rich symphonic traditions.  We are especially proud of the contributions of Music Director Dale Clevenger (1981-1995) to the growth of the ESO. The growing reputation of the Elmhurst Symphony has expanded enormously with the nationally renowned leadership of Dr. Stephen Alltop who has been the Music Director since 1995.

Music Director & Conductor

Stephen Alltop, Music Director, has built a career based on excellence in several disciplines, conducting both orchestral and choral ensembles, and performing as a keyboard artist. The 2016-17 season marks Mr. Alltop's 21st season with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. 

Under Dr. Alltop's direction, the Elmhurst Symphony completed a performance cycle of Beethoven's Symphonies, presented Mahler's Symphonies 1, 2 and 3, and has given world premieres of works by Alan Terricciano, Jan Bach, James Clemens, Miguel del Aguila, Frank Ferko, and Maxwell Raimi. The Elmhurst Symphony has received recognition from the Illinois Council of Orchestras for innovative programming, volunteer activities and overall achievement.

This year will be Dr. Alltop's 15th season as Music Director of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. He also serves as Associate Conductor of the Peninsula Music Festival in Wisconsin and on the faculty with the Green Lake Festival in Wisconsin.

Dr. Alltop has been a member of the conducting faculty of Northwestern University since 1992. In addition to conducting, he has appeared extensively as keyboard soloist, orchestral and chamber musician, and recording artist. Between June and October of 2006, he conducted concerts in the Italian cities of Perugia, Bologna and Rovereto.

Stephen Alltop is represented by Joanne Rile Artist Management. 


The Elmhurst Symphony is comprised of professionals and accomplished community/volunteer musicians Rehearsals take place Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 10:00 pm and concert weekends.

We provide musicians the opportunity to perform under the direction of our outstanding conductor, Stephen Alltop, surrounded by the impressive talent of both professional and accomplished volunteer players. Plus spectacular collaborations with a wealth of guest performers and groups allow us to offer a diverse repertoire and the chance to perform alongside both up-and-coming artists and highly acclaimed talent.

Our primary venue, the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, has wonderful acoustics and provides a satisfying ambiance for our musicians’ work.

Musicians who are interested in auditioning for the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra should contact the office at elmhurstsymphonymgr@gmail.com or by phone at 630-941-0202. We typically hold formal auditions in early September. Interested parties should prepare one movement of a concerto or sonata and 3-4 excerpts of their choice. Please specify what instrument you play and whether you are looking for a community or professional position.  (Professionals, please send a current resume).

Join us to be part of a magical musical experience. With your help, we can keep outstanding-quality music alive in our community.


Cynthia Bergquist Krainc, B.A., M.A., Executive Director

Elizabeth Robinson, Executive Assistant

Linda Oper, Orchestra Manager


Board of Directors

Raymond Allen

Carl Amrhein, Treasurer

Bethany DeHaan,  Secretary

Lorraine Freeman Vice President

Mary Grether

Linda Kozak,  President

Sally Nutini

Keith Olson

Michael Surratt

ESO Conductors

John Lazich


Stanley Ackerman


Gordon Peters

John Duckwall

Dale Clevenger


Dr. Stephen Alltop




P.O. Box 345
Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 941-0202