Conductor Louis Lohraseb, director Kaneza Schaal and administrator Patricia McLeod are recognized for their contributions to the company

(Los Angeles) April 15, 2024 — LA Opera has announced the 2024 recipients of the Eva and Marc Stern Artist Award: conductor Louis Lohraseb, director Kaneza Schaal and administrator Patricia McLeod.

Now in its fourth year, the Stern Artist Award was established by two of LA Opera's greatest champions and most dedicated supporters, Eva and Marc Stern. The annual award celebrates and supports extraordinarily gifted artists who have made important contributions to the company's artistic profile. This year, Mr. Stern has elected to expand the award to encompass administrators who have made exceptional contributions to the company, naming Patricia McLeod, LA Opera's Senior Director of Development, as the first to receive this recognition. This year's $75,000 award will be split between the three honorees.

Chairman of the company’s board of directors from 2002 to 2021, and now serving as Honorary Chairman, Marc Stern has been the driving force in bringing many of the world’s most influential artists to Los Angeles. The Sterns have been involved in nearly every aspect of LA Opera over many years, championing more than 15 ambitious projects including the 2010 Ring cycle, numerous new productions, and DVD releases of La Traviata (with Renée Fleming) and the double Grammy Award-winning Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (with Audra McDonald and Patti LuPone). Through the Eva and Marc Stern Principal Artists Fund, which they established in 2017, they have underwritten performances of major stars including Angel Blue, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Isabel Leonard, Ana María Martínez, Audra McDonald and Rachel Willis-Sørensen.

"Over the years, Eva and I have been truly honored to get so know so many of the extraordinary artists who have created magical experiences in our theater," said Mr. Stern. "The Stern Artist Award is a way for us to celebrate how much they mean to us, to the company and to our community. This award recognizes artists with strong connections to LA Opera in an expression of admiration and gratitude for both past and future contributions to the company's creative endeavors, and although the award has traditionally been given to artists, that description holds true for Patricia McLeod as well. I am delighted to recognize the inventive and committed manner in which she has created and maintained the ideal conditions for artistic expression on our stage."

The Stern Artist Award was launched in 2021. The inaugural honorees were soprano Angel Blue, soprano Janai Brugger, bass-baritone Craig Colclough, tenor Joshua Guerrero and mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey. The 2022 recipients of the award were tenor Ben Bliss, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges and soprano Liv Redpath. Last year's honorees were conductor Lina González-Granados and bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee.

The 2024 Honorees
Since his 2019 professional debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Louis Lohraseb has established himself as an exciting young conductor of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. The New York native joined the LA Opera family as a member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program from 2018 through 2020, working closely with Music Director James Conlon. During that time, he conducted the LA Opera Orchestra in live performances of Bernhard Herrmann's soundtrack score for Psycho. He made his mainstage company debut conducting Tosca in 2022. (Parterre Box: "It was apparent from his entrance into the pit that he’s a favorite with the orchestra and he proved immediately why. The LA Opera Orchestra veritably erupted and sparkled under his sure-handed guidance.") He returned in 2023 to conduct The Barber of Seville. (Indulge magazine: "Louis Lohraseb's enthusiastic conducting infuses the performance with a contagious energy that electrifies the entire production.") He will also conduct the company's current production of La Traviata on April 18. His appearances elsewhere this season include debuts with the Hamburg State Opera for The Marriage of Figaro and with Atlanta Opera for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as a concert with the Peoria Symphony. Recent engagements include Carmen with the Semperoper Dresden, La Traviata with the Komische Oper Berlin, Massenet’s rarely performed Thérèse with Sarasota Opera and Così fan tutte with Tel Aviv Summer Opera. He also conducted Don Giovanni and La Rondine with Indiana University’s IU Opera Theatre.

Based in New York, stage director Kaneza Schaal has made a mark in theater, opera and film. She has created two highly acclaimed new productions for LA Opera. She made her company debut in 2022 with the West Coast premiere of Omar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels. (SF Classical Voice: "A profoundly moving spectacle at LA Opera...director Kaneza Schaal delivered a scheme of streamers, scrims, drapes and projections filled with Omar’s Arabic writings.") She returned earlier this year for William Grant Still's Highway 1, USA, the highest profile staging that the rarely performed opera has received to date. By creating performances that speak many formal, cultural, historical, aesthetic and experiential languages, she seeks expansive audiences. Her work has been shown in divergent contexts from courtyards in Vietnam, to East African amphitheaters, to European opera houses, to U.S. public housing. Domestically, her work has been shown at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Kennedy Center, Detroit Opera, The Shed, Walker Arts Center and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, United States Artist Fellowship, SOROS Art Migration and Public Space Fellowship, Ford Foundation Art for Justice Bearing Witness Award and Creative Capital Award.

In her 14 years with the company, Patricia McLeod has been foundational to the company's success, both as an inspirational administrative leader for her staff, and as an exceptional steward of relationships that have paid and will continue to pay dividends to the organization for generations to come. Chief among her many accomplishments, she is principally responsible for the largest single gift in the history of LA Opera. During her tenure at the company, she has helped in the strategic planning and guidance of the company’s largest campaign, which has nearly tripled the company’s endowment. Through her efforts, she has has a profound impact on helping make the company's artistic goals achievable. She leads the individual giving team and is responsible for many of the company’s most successful fundraising initiatives and programs, including the planned giving program which, under her leadership, has produced several of the largest estate gifts received by the company. She expertly staffs board leadership and executive staff in all the company’s most critical development efforts. She came to LA Opera in 2010, after previously holding leadership positions in development with a number of arts organizations, including the San Jose Museum of Art, the Montalvo Arts Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She has also held leadership development positions in academia, working for the Stanford University School of Medicine and the California College of the Arts.

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About LA Opera
Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. Through imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive performances that preserve foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies.

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