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Houston Grand Opera Appoints Khori Dastoor as General Director & CEO

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She will assume her new role with HGO full-time as of January 2022.

Houston Grand Opera Appoints Khori Dastoor as General Director & CEO

Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is proud to announce the appointment of Khori Dastoor as the company's new General Director and CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. She will assume her new role with HGO full-time as of January 2022.

Dastoor began her operatic career performing in the U.S. and internationally as a lyric soprano before pursuing a trailblazing career in arts administration, joining Opera San José (OSJ) as Artistic Advisor in 2013 and as General Director 2019. During her time in San Jose, Dastoor became known for her hands-on, entrepreneurial artistic and administrative leadership. Through her strategic vision, Dastoor turned Opera San José into a profitable institution by providing exceptional fiscal stewardship while broadening the company's classic repertoire and focusing on the next generation of artists and operagoers. This success and her combination of creativity and leadership signal the beginning of many milestone firsts in her impressive career. Previous to her role at OSJ, she served as Associate Director of the Packard Humanities Institute, responsible for initiatives encompassing arts, music, and archaeology.

"Houston Grand Opera has long led the way in developing new operatic works that speak to the American experience, as well as to the dynamism and vibrancy of Houston, Texas. I have long admired this storied institution, whose legacy is rich with new commissions, world premieres, acclaimed artists, and stunning, world-class productions," says Khori Dastoor, HGO's incoming General Director and CEO. "HGO will continue to propel opera forward by developing diverse offerings, evolving known stories to reflect our current world, and celebrating the incredible artists, musicians, and creatives who make this artform possible."

Dastoor's leadership in the industry extends well beyond her work with Opera San José. She recently joined the Board of Directors for OPERA America (OA) and is a founding member and mentor for OA's new initiative, the Mentorship Program for Opera Leaders of Color, which pairs BIPOC professionals with executive-level leaders in opera. She also serves on the Aspen Music Festival & School Alumni Committee, is a graduate of American Express Women in Music Leadership Academya??, and previously served as the San Francisco District Director of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

In November 2020, HGO's Board of Directors and leadership team decided to evolve the organization's current structure and began the search for General Director. For approximately 10 years prior to that, HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech and HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers co-led the company under the Office of the General Director. Leech left the company at the end of 2020 and is now General Director of Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Summers remains with HGO as Artistic and Music Director, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair.

The HGO Board has spent the past six months conducting a comprehensive search for the company's new General Director. Dastoor stood out in the field for her clear vision for opera's future, her proven record of organizational transformation, and her commitment to inclusion, collaboration, technological advancement, and expanding access to the artform.

"When we began our search, we knew we were searching for a candidate who would bring groundbreaking ideas to Houston and expand on the wonderful work already underway at HGO," explains Allyn Risley, HGO's Chair of the Board of Directors. "We found that and so much more in Khori Dastoor. Her energy and passion for the artform are truly inspiring, and we look forward to seeing her jump right in and embrace the unique spirit of this city."

Dastoor joins HGO as the company begins its bold next act. "If this past year has taught us anything, it's the essential role that the arts play in our lives," she shares. "Opera has endured centuries due to the tireless work of incredible artists and musicians, who continue to propel our artform forward. I'm thrilled to be joining Houston Grand Opera, a company which leads the industry in developing new talent and creating new works and look forward to joining you this Fall for our triumphant return to in-person performances."

"In the long history of HGO a few remarkable days stand out. Because I have been privileged with a long tenure at HGO, I have several of these treasured moments; today is one of them. Khori Dastoor is a brilliant choice for HGO's next leader," shares HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers. "She has the rarest combination of exemplary qualities: she is an artist of vision, intelligence, and breadth, and an administrator of empathy, professionalism, and unparalleled integrity. I look forward to our company's future under her leadership."

Dastoor holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a master's degree in Opera Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Khori Dastoor is an inspiring leader, colleague and friend to the arts, and I am overjoyed that she will lead HGO! I've known her for 20 years: first as a radiant soprano and scholar, then as an innovative administrator - always a remarkable collaborator and connector," says composer Jake Heggie. "To her core, she loves opera and believes in its resonance as a vital, current and immensely flexible art form - essential to a community. Where others see problems, Khori sees possibility. That has also been a mantra for the great Houston Grand Opera, a company that has overcome immense challenges and always emerged by leading with curiosity, innovation, bold ideas, new works and brilliant artists. The combination of Khori Dastoor's leadership and HGO's stunning legacy is a reason to cheer!"

To learn more, visit HGO.org/Khori.

Photo Credit: Lynn Lane


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