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Alan Heatherington, Music Director
Alan Heatherington has built his career in the Chicago metropolitan area as a choral and orchestral conductor, a violinist/concertmaster and an educator. So distinguished are his accomplishments that the Chicago Tribune named him a Chicagoan of the Year in the arts in 2004. The Illinois Council of Orchestras awarded him the title of Conductor of the Year for 2005 and again in 2012. In 2010 he received the Cultural Leadership Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, for “sustained leadership, extending beyond his own organizations and community, that has profoundly impacted the state of the arts in Illinois.” He was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award from Chicago Classical Review.
He has held the post of Music Director of the Chicago Master Singers (CMS) since 1989, leading the chorus on 10 concert tours in most of the musical capitals of Western and Eastern Europe. He will co-direct the Mozart Salzburg Choral Festival in 2014 with Domkapellmeister János Czifra. In addition to CMS, he is the founder and music director of the Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, a professional orchestra composed of many of the finest professional musicians in the Chicago metropolitan area, including many members of the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Heatherington has conducted or played with virtually all the major orchestras in Chicago throughout more than four decades, has taught at various colleges and universities for more than twenty years, and has conducted concerts in many of the major cultural capitals of Europe. He made his European opera debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the Krakow Opera. He has also conducted the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington, D. C. and the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in Ekaterinburg, Russia under the auspices of Soli Deo Gloria. A frequent conductor in the Czech Republic, he has conducted the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, the North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the West Bohemia Symphony Orchestra.
Heatherington was the founding Music Director of the Chicago String Ensemble (1979-1995), the only professional string orchestra in the Midwestern United States. He is the Music Director Emeritus of the Lake Forest Symphony, having served as Music Director for 13 years (2000-2013). He also founded the Innsbruck International Choral Festival, co-conducting the festival for four years with Alice Parker and Weston Noble. He was the Director of Music Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest (1995-2003) as well as Director of the Anshe Emet Synagogue professional choir (1992-2000) which can be heard on a collection of compact discs of Jewish High Holy Days music with Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi.
He is currently attending Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin in preparation for ordination as an Anglican priest, a vocation which he will pursue alongside his current musical endeavors. He and his wife Gayle, a vocalist who works professionally in arts management and graphic design, live in Libertyville, Illinois.