Chester Alwes – Composer

Dr. Chester Alwes

Dr. Chester Alwes

Chester L. Alwes holds degrees in music from Hanover College (BA), Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music (MSM), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA). Before joining the University of Illinois faculty in 1982, he taught at the College of Wooster (Ohio) and the University of Rochester/Eastman School of Music. Prior to his retirement in 2011 from the University of Illinois, Dr. Alwes taught graduate courses in choral literature, seminars on the works of J.S. Bach and Henry Purcell, and graduate and undergraduate conducting. From 1982-2009, he was conductor of the University of Illinois Concert Choir, taking over the Women’s Glee Club prior to his retirement. In addition, he was frequently conductor the University’s Oratorio Society, Summer Chorus and the Illinois Summer Youth Music Senior Chorus.

In 1996, he founded the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana (BACH), an ensemble drawn from the University and local community that specialized in music of the 17th and 18th centuries.   As a choral conductor, Dr. Alwes was known for his innovative programming, his sensitivity to tone and musical line, and his dedication to the musical growth of his singers. Alwes has been widely hailed as a teacher/mentor, scholar, editor, and composer.

He is the author of A History of Western Choral Music (2 vols., Oxford University Press, 2015-16), Handel’s Messiah: the Complete Solo Variants (Roger Dean Music,2009), a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to Choral Music, Andre De Quadros, ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2012), numerous articles on choral music and numerous choral compositions and arrangements.