San Francisco Opera Picks New Music Director

Effective Aug. 1, 2021, Kim will be the first Asian woman to lead a major American opera.

Eun Sun Kim was appointed the fourth music director of the San Francisco Opera on Dec. 5, becoming the first woman and person of color in the Opera’s history to hold the title. She is also the first Asian woman to lead a major American opera, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“From my very first moments at San Francisco Opera, I felt this was home,” Kim said in a statement released by the San Francisco Opera. “There was an unusual feeling of open collaboration across so many facets of the Company—a real sense of professional alchemy.”

As music director, Kim will be responsible for leading the orchestra, chorus, and music staff. She’ll be conducting up to four productions in every season of her five year contract. Kim’s music directorship will be effective Aug. 1, 2021.

Kim hails from Seoul, South Korea, where she studied music composition at Yonsei University before graduating with distinction from the State University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart. She made her American debut with the Houston Grand Opera in a production of La Traviata, and has since conducted all over the United States, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of San Diego, Cincinnati, Oregon, Seattle, and San Francisco this past June, where she conducted Dvořák’s Rusalka. Kim is also an internationally recognized name, having led concerts at the Berlin Staatsoper and the Royal Swedish Opera.

Even though Kim’s tenure as music director doesn’t officially start until 2021, you’ll have a chance to see her in action on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre for the 2019 Adler Fellows’ (the San Francisco Opera Resident Artists’) final concert of the year: The Future is Now.

Previously, the position was held by Nicola Luisotti, who left the role empty at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Kim will be opening the 2020-21 season with Beethoven’s Fidelio.

Related Stories