Festival Opera’s new General Director, Zachary Gordin, has joined a cadre of cutting-edge visionaries in opera leadership that are giving audiences and artists hope that the art form will survive and thrive in seasons to come. Gordin brings to this new role the artistic experience of a decades-long career as a critically acclaimed Baritone. He brings a proven track record, along with a breadth and depth of experience as an impresario, conductor, educator, artist mentor and organizational consultant.
Gordin began his administrative relationship with FO in the role of Artistic Advisor, providing crucial guidance in producing a successful fundraising Gala in 2018. Shortly thereafter, Gordin was appointed Artistic Director for the 2019 Season. Of his debut as Artistic Director, San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “A gripping production of Carlisle Floyd’s tragedy Susannah this past weekend made it clear that Festival Opera has returned to full production in high gear. After several years of reduced offerings, the Walnut Creek-based company, with newly appointed artistic director Zachary Gordin, brought this lush American opera to the Lesher Center with savvy stage direction and first-class music from singers and orchestra.” The same publication later named FO “Best New Discovery” in their annual “Best of the Bay” awards. Gordin has since created the Festival Opera Artist Recital Series, where audiences can experience principal artists in an intimate salon setting, featuring innovative and inclusive programming. His promotion to General Director is a harbinger of many more such innovations and artistically uplifting seasons for this newly restored cultural asset of the Bay Area.
An Oakland native son, Gordin grew up amid all of the arts and multi-cultural offerings that the Bay is famous for. During his early childhood, he was inspired by his Great-Grandfather, an organist, and began his own training on keyboard instruments. To this day Gordin’s keyboard skills are concert quality and he has even been known to fill in as accompanist in opera rehearsals, or to play harpsichord continuo with baroque ensembles.
His own experience being from a diverse cultural background, and as a participant in once-robust public school music programs, informs Gordin’s ongoing dedication to community programming and building educational access. He firmly believes, with his own life as testament, that classical music has something to offer every human being and every community. As a music educator, Gordin has served on the voice faculties of the Oakland School for the Arts, Santa Clara University, and currently holds a post at Sonoma State University and the Green Music Center, conducting and directing operas and training vocal performance majors. Through his own vocal studio in Oakland, he has trained and mentored many artists who perform on the world’s great stages.
Gordin continues his work as a sought-after performer and presenter. His passion for fitness, community engagement, artistic consulting, and mentoring makes him a positive influence in online and social media spaces as well as print and television. Gordin continues to collaborate, communicate and lead in ways that uplift and lead the opera world toward a more innovative, equitable and worldly position in society. With his reverence for tradition, his passion for excellence, and his modern and socially progressive vision, Festival Opera will be in skilled and restorative hands for years to come.
Board of Directors
Susie Hanson, Chair
David Baer, Secretary
Michael Morgan, Senior Artistic Advisor
Frederica von Stade
Kristin Clayton Knezevic
Ted Weis, MD, Founder
Artistic & Production Staff
General Director: Zachary Gordin
- Executive Assistant to the General Director: Kristen Campbell
Principal Conductor: Bryan Nies
Resident Stage Director & Choreographer: Mark Foehringer
Director of Production: Frederic O. Boulay
Orchestra Personnel Manager: Carole Klein
Chorus Manager: Elizabeth Robertson
Director of Marketing: Dick Brundage
Press and Media Relations: Blake Hill-Saya
Social Media Coordinator: Ruchi Kapila
Graphic Design: Temerity Design