Christopher Koelsch has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since 2012. He had previously held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2010, after serving as Vice President for Artistic Planning. He is the first year-round resident of Los Angeles to lead LA Opera since 2007.
Mr. Koelsch oversees all aspects of artistic planning, including repertoire development, music administration, the casting of artists, and the selection of guest conductors. He is responsible for implementing the artistic vision of Eli and Edythe Broad General Director Plácido Domingo and Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon, with whom he collaborates closely. He has overseen the creation of more than 32 new productions, including five world premieres, working with each creative team to manage every phase of development from initial conception to opening night. He has overseen the production of seven television recordings for LA Opera, including Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, which won two Grammy Awards upon its DVD release. He is also in charge of every aspect of the Company’s strategic resources, including board development, fundraising, branding, marketing, public relations and educational administration.
Since joining the artistic staff of LA Opera in 1997, he was gradually entrusted with the responsibility to take on other aspects of administration. In recent seasons, he has guided LA Opera through a remarkable period of reinvention, emphasizing both fiscal responsibility and the highest standards of artistic excellence. In his 16 years with LA Opera, he has collaborated closely with all of the Company’s principal architects, which have included—in addition to Mr. Domingo and Mr. Conlon—Founding General Director Peter Hemmings, former Music Director Kent Nagano, and former CEOs Edgar Baitzel and Stephen Rountree.
Mr. Koelsch grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. Trained as a dramaturg and stage director at Colgate University and the University of Michigan, he began his career at the Spoleto Festival USA, where he was rehearsal administrator. He relocated to the West Coast to become the company manager at Opera Pacific.
Mr. Koelsch serves on the USC Thornton School of Music Board of Councilors. He lives in downtown Los Angeles with his husband and two dogs.