Show artwork for Wild

A Former Music Critic Gives LA Opera a Lasting Good Review

Posted on: November 22, 2021

Earlier this year, Ken Sanson, a longtime LA Opera subscriber and supporter, passed away. Like many opera lovers, Ken came to the art form early. A member of the Pasadena Boys Choir, he sang in visiting productions that called for a children’s chorus, such as Carmen or Tosca. “After we completed our part, I would stay backstage and watch the rest of the performance through a small hole in the set,” he recalled. This introduction to opera started what would become a life-long passion for music. 


Ken Sanson with Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Alumni Kihun Yoon and Vanessa Becerra.

Before college, Ken sang as a member of the Roger Wagner Chorale, touring internationally to Japan and Cuba while further deepening his appreciation of vocal music.  

Upon completion of his studies, Ken received a Rockefeller Fellowship to train as a music critic. A job at the Chicago American came next, where he reviewed the cultural offerings of the Windy City. The Chicago adventure ended with a teaching position at the American Conservatory of Music before returning to Southern California to be closer to family. 

Serendipitously, the homecoming coincided with the founding of LA Opera in 1986. A subscriber from the very beginning, Ken was an active booster of the company, first as a subscriber, then as an annual donor, and eventually by making a planned gift. While other subscribers may desire closer or more central seats, Ken insisted that the best sound quality comes towards the back of the balcony where he sat for more than 30 seasons. 

Ken realized his experiences at LA Opera would not have been possible without philanthropy and wanted to extend the same opportunity to future generations by making a planned gift to the company.  

“My love of singers and wish to expose others to the top vocalists in the world motivated my gift,” he explained.  

LA Opera is honored to be a part of Ken’s legacy, which will provide support for future recitals and productions with large choruses, such as this season’s Tannhäuser and Aida 

To learn more about how you can leave a legacy, contact us at 213.972.3141 or You can also visit us here.