Beyond Boundaries: An Interview with Christopher Koelsch

Christopher Koelsch; Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Christopher Koelsch; Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera’s President and Chief Executive Officer, is either astonishingly modest or tremendously reverential to those who have gone before him… or both.

Mr. Koelsch is this year’s recipient of the Opera League’s Peter Hemmings Award – given to individuals “who have made significant contributions to the development of opera in the greater Los Angeles area.” He speaks of the achievements of LA Opera in his four years at the helm as little more than the naturalension of ideas and programs put forth by his predecessors – and by “the incredible team we have here.”

LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch (left), General Director Plácido Domingo (center), and Music Director James Conlon; Photo: Steve Kohn

LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch (left), General Director Plácido Domingo (center), and Music Director James Conlon; Photo: Steve Kohn

Asked about the company’s accomplishments during his tenure, he evokes none other than Peter Hemmings himself, LA Opera’s first general director during its “startup years” of the 1980s and ‘90s. “There were no rules, no established tradition to combat. He could design a repertory for this unique city and forge a path for the future of the art form.”

Koelsch says that leaders such as Kent Nagano, Edgar Baitzel, Stephen Rountree and, more recently, Music Director James Conlon and General Director Plácido Domingo, set and reinforced the “core values” that he is proud to have had a part in upholding.

Click here to read Bill Kennedy’s full article about Christopher Koelsch on OperaLeague.org.

A retired newspaper executive who started his career as a reporter, Bill Kennedy recently moved to Pasadena from Massachusetts, where he was a member of the board of the Boston Lyric Opera.  He now serves on the boards of the Opera League of Los Angeles and the Pacific Opera Project.

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