grand appointment

Houston Grand Opera names new shepherd to groom young music stars

Houston Grand Opera names new shepherd to groom young music stars

Maureen Zoltek Houston Grand Opera HGO Studio
Dr. Maureen Zoltek joins the HGO Studio in September. Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

 A talented name in opera is set to lead Houston’s next generation of stars. Houston Grand Opera has announced Dr. Maureen Zoltek as the new music director of the HGO Studio, the prestigious and well-known training program.

She will head the music program in September will occupy the Mr. & Mrs. Albert B. Alkek Chair, according to a press release.

Her duties include working closely with HGO Studio director Brian Speck to develop some of the most talented young artists in the discipline. She will also serve on the company’s casting committee and oversee programming for the HGO Studio’s popular recital series.

The multi-talented Zoltek rose to the top of a competitive pool of candidates, according to the opera, for her diverse experience, expertise, and musical artistry that she gained working with leading vocalists, instrumentalists, orchestras, and opera companies all across North America.

“Our young artist program is known for being one of the most distinguished in the world, and it will continue to grow with talent like Maureen joining the team,” said Khori Dastoor, HGO general director and CEO, in a statement. “Her knowledge of the established repertoire, devotion to new works, impeccable record of accomplishment in supporting emerging and early career artists, and passion for music-making at the highest level will be a tremendous asset to HGO in the years ahead.”

Bringing a reputation for mentoring and fostering young and emerging talent to HGO, Zoltek currently serves as assistant conductor, vocal coach, and orchestral keyboardist at San Francisco Opera. She also works at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where she is a member of the Vocal Institute Faculty.

Pushing new works, Zoltek has served on the music staff for the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West, and Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber. This summer, Zoltek will serve on John Adam’s Antony and Cleopatra, an upcoming world premiere at San Francisco Opera.

Her education includes a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Manhattan School of Music, a master’s degree in piano performance and musicology from Roosevelt University, and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from DePaul University.

“I am inspired by the HGO Studio’s legacy of excellence, and am privileged to now be a part of its leadership,” Zoltek notes in press materials. “I look forward to working with and nurturing the exceptional talents of the Studio Artists, and to giving them my unwavering, enthusiastic support and guidance as they navigate a career in this most incredible art form.”