BA with departmental honors, Hanover College; MSM (cum laude) in choral conducting and musicology, Union Theological Seminary; DMA in choral conducting and literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In August 2011 Chester Alwes retired from the faculty of the University of Illinois School of Music after twenty-nine years of teaching.
Dr. Alwes founded and conducted the Musica Sacra Ensemble of Louisville, conducted the Collegium Musicum at the University of Louisville, and was assistant conductor of the Louisville Boys Choir. He has taught at the College of Wooster (Ohio) and the Eastman School of Music.
In 1982, Alwes received the Julius Herford Outstanding Dissertation Prize from the American Choral Directors Association. In 1985, he co-chaired the 30th International Festival-Conference on Heinrich Schütz. Recipient of the title "Distinguished Graduate and the Distinguished Alumnus Award" from Hanover College, he is past president of the Illinois Chapter of ACDA. Nationally, he has served ACDA as a member of the editorial board of Choral Journal and the committee on Research and Publications.
An active composer, Alwes has executed commissions for the 1987 American Guild of Organists Convention and many churches and schools. His most recent scholarly editions include music by Palestrina, Sweelinck, Schütz, and Tallis. Dr. Alwes is also the author of numerous articles on choral music and is currently at work on a text for teaching choral literature, A History of Western Choral Music, which is in the final stages of production by Oxford University Press. Alwes is co-founder and music director of the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana (BACH).