CCM Young Alumni Awardee Christopher Allen leads Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Rising Stars" Concert

The award-winning maestro leads the virtual concert at 7 p.m. CT on April 29

Dubbed by Opera News as "one of the fastest-rising podium stars in North America," conductor Christopher Allen leads a program of rarely-heard operatic gems in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Rising Stars" virtual concert at 7 p.m. CT on April 29.

Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, '11) is a recipient of the 2021 CCM Young Alumni Award, which recognizes professional achievement and engagement with the college by graduates or former students under the age of 40. Fellow 2021 Young Alumni Award recipients include Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, '04), Connor Gallagher (BFA Musical Theatre, '06) and Brian Lazarte (BFA E-Media, '06). The awards will be presented as part of CCM's Virtual Graduation Convocation Ceremony, which streams on Saturday, May 1, 2021. 

Christopher Allen

Christopher Allen. Photo/Provided

Recipient of the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Allen is featured in Opera News as “one of the fastest-rising podium stars in North America.” He has led acclaimed performances with the Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Washington National Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Atlanta Opera, Daegu Opera House in South Korea and China National Opera Orchestra and Chorus. As The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Maestro Allen has joined the company for three consecutive seasons, in addition to leading the Cincinnati Symphony in the annual Washington Park Concert each summer.

In the 2019/20 season, Allen returned to Florida Grand Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre to conduct Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He conducted his debut at Arizona Opera in Puccini’s La bohème. In the beginning of the 2020 season, Christopher toured the United States as music director of the Bel Canto Trio. Shortly thereafter, many debuts and performances at Opera Omaha’s One Festival, Opéra de Montréal, Oper Frankfurt, and Cincinnati Opera were canceled due to COVID-19.

Allen’s career was launched by the Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant and has been fostered by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as Associate Conductor. At LA Opera, Allen led the musical preparation for the acclaimed The Ghosts of Versailles, which won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. In addition to earning recognition as a Musical America Artist of the Month and one of their “25 Stars Still Rising,” Allen is a recipient of a Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award and an International Opera Awards nominee.

Allen’s artistic pursuits extend beyond his role as conductor. He demonstrates his commitment to education through his work with young artists at Los Angeles Opera, Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, New England Conservatory, A.J. Fletcher Institute at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Allen has been heard on NPR speaking about the importance of the arts in American society. As an award-winning pianist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and mostly recently on film in La voix humaine, starring Patricia Racette and directed by James Darrah.

When not in rehearsal or onstage, Allen enjoys his work as a multimedia visual artist and playwright. His artistic short film NIOBE, that he wrote and directed during the COVID-19 lockdown, was selected by numerous film festivals. It has gone on to win awards for Best First Time Director, Best Screen Dance Short, and Best Dance Film. Allen is also the Creative Director of Shokat Projects, a production company dedicated to the creation of new, interdisciplinary works. Learn more on Allen's professional website.


Featured image at the top: Christopher Allen leads the CCM Philharmonia during the college's Sesquicentennial Alumni Showcase. Photo/Andrew Highley, UC Creative Services.

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