Houston Grand Opera Names New HGOco Director
Houston Grand Opera (HGO) has selected Carleen Graham as HGOco director following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). An award-winning opera educator, administrator, researcher, and stage director, Graham will director HGO’s community collaboration and education initiative, HGOco. She will begin her tenure on August 22, 2016.
In making the announcement, HGOco Committee Chair Judy Agee said, “Carleen Graham impressed us all with her passion for opera and for communicating with new audiences. We are looking forward to her leadership in helping us forge broader and deeper connections with Houstonians of all ages and backgrounds.”
“The opportunity to join this prestigious American opera company is an exciting privilege,” said Graham. “I look forward to working with the HGOco team, the HGO family, and the wonderfully diverse communities, schools, and organizations of Houston in continuing HGOco’s rich tradition of community engagement through the art of storytelling with words and music.”
A distinguished teaching professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam where she has been on the faculty since 1991, Graham has taught courses including Teaching Opera to Children and Opera, Research, and Advocacy. She has been recognized by the university with its President’s and Chancellor’s awards for excellence in teaching. As director of the university’s Crane Opera Ensemble, she was instrumental in establishing and administering the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize for new works that explore themes related to tolerance, inclusion, and celebration of diversity. She also oversaw a program that enables regional school children to attend campus performances and engage in interactive workshops with college students. Graham is a former director of the university’s Center for Undergraduate Research and has led forums for Opera America and the National Opera Association on new developments in community engagement and education.
In 2012 Graham co-founded the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar for emerging singers and pianists. As a stage director, she has directed numerous professional and college opera productions, along with guest engagements including recent stints at Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and Tri-Cities Opera.
Graham holds a bachelor of music in music education from Ohio University, a master of music and graduate diploma in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a doctor of education degree in music and music education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
“Congratulations to Houston Grand Opera on its appointment of Carleen Graham as HGOco director,” said ACG Vice President Pamela A. Pantos. “ACG is confident that its visionary new leader will not only support and enhance HGOco’s mission of fostering community collaboration but also continue developing diverse and exciting new operas that speak to the city of Houston and its history, presenting original works that engage students, educators, and families alike.”