Artistic Staff 1981-1999
Philip Kraus served as Artistic Director of Light Opera Works from 1981 through 1999 after having founded the company in 1980. He received his training at the School of Music at Northwestern University culminating in a Doctor of Music in Applied Voice which he received in 1986. Nurturing an interest in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan from childhood, Philip continued that involvement as both vocalist and stage director while working with Northwestern's Gilbert and Sullivan Guild. A highly acclaimed operatic baritone, Philip made his professional operatic debot in 1978 with Chicago Opera Theater and has been on the roster of the Lyric Opera of
Chicago almost continuously since 1991. Combining vocal performance with stage direction, he developed a career in both disciplines. Philip stage directed 38 mainstage productions at Light Opera Works. He served as resident stage director for the Pamiro Opera in Green Bay from 1988 to 1996. Under his collaboration with conductor Miro Pansky, he directed productions of La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, The Magic Flute, L'Italiana in Algeri, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, The Daughter of the Regiment and the world premiere of Gordon Parmentier's The Lost Dauphin which received rave reviews and was videotaped by Wisconsin Public Television for broadcast. After leaving Light Opera Works, Philip began to focus on his singing career, appearing as soloist with numerous American orchestras. In 2006 he made his Los Angeles Opera debut in La Traviata opposite René Fleming and Elizabeth Futral. An invitation from the Chicago Cultural Center saw him produce and direct Poulenc's The Breasts of Tiresias in 2000 and Mozart's The Impresario in 2001 for which he did a new translation. He has been a guest at the Lyric Opera Cleveland where a recent production of Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan proved one of the most successful in the company's history. He was invited back in the summer of 2003 to direct The Mikado which was done in his 1986 Elizabethan concept. Philip currently divides his time between performance and serving on the Opera faculty at Northwestern University.
Dennis Northway served as Chorusmaster for Light Opera Works from 1986 through 1999 preparing the choruses for 40 productions. A musician of many varied talents, Dennis has made estimable careers in church music, music education, conducting, choral training and both organ and vocal performance. Known for his exciting conducting and his warm, energetic personal style, his schedule as a choral clinician usually comprises ten to twenty workshops or clinics a year. He is well known as a private voice, organ and composition teacher and is regularly sought out for his insights in all these areas. Dennis has always had strong sense
of social mission which has led him to found community choirs, conduct senior citizen choruses, and has taught regularly in some of the most high-risk neighborhoods in the city of Chicago. Dennis did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and continued Masters work at Concordia University culminating in a Doctor of Music at Northwestern University in 1993. Dennis is currently the Parish Musician at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, IL where he leads three choirs. Additionally, he is a general music and choral teacher at Jack London Middle school of District 21 in Wheeling, IL. In 2000, Dennis helped to found the Handel Week Festival in Oak Park and has served as Artistic Director of this highly successful organization since its inception. Dennis has also distinguished himself both as a composer and author. His recent book, Pipe Organs of Chicago written with co-author Stephen Schnurr has received high praise from the critics. Dennis' service to the organ community in Chicago is particulary notable, serving as Dean of the Chicago Chapter of the American Guild of Organists from 1997 through 2003 and being instrumental in organizing and running the National AGO Convention held in Chicago in 2006.