curtain up for khori!

Dynamic and talented West Coast veteran takes over Houston Grand Opera

Dynamic and talented West Coast veteran takes over Houston Grand Opera

Khori Dastoor Houston Grand Opera
Former soprano and opera general director Khori Dastoor is taking over HGO. Photo by Lynn Lane

Rebounding from a tumultuous 2020 that saw the cancellation of live performances in November, Houston Grand Opera is boldly pivoting this year. The beloved organization will host the “world’s greatest tenor” this fall and has just announced a dynamic new CEO.

Khori Dastoor will take the helm as the company’s new general director and CEO, and holder of the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair. She will assume her new role with HGO full-time as of January 2022, per a press release.

Dastoor brings serious, hands-on chops to her new role. She began her operatic career performing in the U.S. and internationally as a lyric soprano, then transitioned to Opera San José (OSJ) in California as artistic advisor in 2013 and as general director 2019.

The former performer is credited with turning Opera San José into a profitable institution by providing exceptional fiscal stewardship while broadening the company’s classic repertoire and focusing on the next generation of artists and opera fans, a release notes.

Before her role at OSJ, Dastoor served as associate director of the Packard Humanities Institute, responsible for initiatives encompassing arts, music, and archaeology. Dastoor earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in Opera Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

“Houston Grand Opera has long led the way in developing new operatic works that speak to the American experience, as well as to the dynamism and vibrancy of Houston, Texas,” Dastoor said in a press release. “I have long admired this storied institution, whose legacy is rich with new commissions, world premieres, acclaimed artists, and stunning, world-class productions.”

HGO spent the last six months searching for new leadership. For the last 10 years, HGO’s managing director Perryn Leech and artistic and music director Patrick Summers co-led the company. Leech left at the end of 2020 and currently heads the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Summers is still HGO’s artistic and music director.