Handel Week Festival 2018 Performers (incomplete)
Dennis E. Northway, artistic director
The founding artistic director of the Handel Week Festival, Dennis Northway is an active musician, organ builder, teacher, composer, and author. He received a doctorate in choral conducting from Northwestern University, where he also attained candidacy for a doctorate in musicology. His teachers include Ronald Arnatt, Kathleen Thomerson, Herbert Gotsch, Richard Enright, and Wolfgang Rübsam. He is parish musician at Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, and is employed by John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders.
As a recitalist, Dr. Northway was heard at the 2009 and 2012 national conventions of the Organ Historical Society and in Scotland for the 50th anniversary conference of the Scottish Federation of Organists.
As a conductor, he has wide-ranging experience working with a vast array of forces—from a choir of four year-olds to a senior chorus, from intimate chamber ensembles to mass choirs of hundreds. He has worked with the Chicago Children's Choir for a decade in a variety of capacities and has conducted the Concert Choir and the Chicago Children's Choir in Rogers Park. Past positions include chorus master of the Owensboro (Kentucky) Symphony Orchestra Chorus, director of choral activities at Kentucky Wesleyan College, chorus master and conductor at Light Opera Works, music director at St. Patrick’s High School (Chicago), artistic director of the Park Forest Singers, and conductor of the Lutheran Choir of Chicago. He also founded Fleur de Lys, a professional chamber choir originally dedicated to the music of the Romantic period.
In demand as a choral clinician and guest artist, he has led many seminars and performances and is an active lecturer in the Chicago area. He has appeared as a singer in lead roles with Light Opera Works, Chamber Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Chamber Choir, the College of DuPage, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and Pamiro Opera. He also has more than two hundred compositions to his credit.
He is coauthor, with Stephen Schnurr, Jr., of the two-volume Pipe Organs of Chicago, and he recently wrote, with Shawn Schreiner, The Rite Place: Kids Do Church! published by Morehouse. He is editor of To Touch the Garment’s Hem, an anthology of inspirational thoughts for choral groups, and the ChicAGO Centenary Anthology celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chicago chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Thomas Yang, concertmaster
In much demand as a performer throughout the Chicago area, violinist Thomas Yang has worked with numerous musical organizations and gained widespread recognition from many audiences. He currently serves as concertmaster of the Northbrook Symphony, Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, St. Charles Singers, and the Handel Week Festival. In the past, he has served as concertmaster for the Lake Forest Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, and a number of other ensembles. He is a longtime member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and has also played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
A versatile performer and contractor, Mr. Yang has performed with and provided orchestras for many popular artists: Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Lyle Lovett, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, John Denver, Bernadette Peters, and a host of others. He and a quartet even opened for rock legend Meat Loaf!
Mr. Yang currently serves as executive director of the Chicago Musical Connection, a musical contracting agency, and as an artist-in-residence at Robert Morris University. He lives in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette with his wife and four daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys tutoring first- and second-grade reading classes in Chicago and watching his daughters play ice hockey.
See the Handel Week Festival’s performers from last season here.