LACC Announces New Executive Director
December 13, 2023
LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS NAMES
SUSAN MILLER KOTSES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kotses, a Highly Regarded Seasoned Arts Leader and
Champion for Education and Community Engagement,
Assumes Post on February 8, 2024
Pasadena, CA (December 13, 2023) – Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) Board Chair Dete Meserve today announces that the Board of Directors has named highly regarded seasoned arts leader Susan Miller Kotses Executive Director. Kotses, an innovative and collaborative leader, skilled relationship builder and management strategist, assumes the post on February 8, 2024.
Kotses will work closely with LACC Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz to operationalize his ambitious artistic vision, producing the resources, organizational structures, long-term planning and institutional visibility necessary to do so, while also ensuring the chorus maintains its position at the forefront of the national choral music field.
The Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, widely recognized as one of the world’s preeminent youth choruses, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), and “one of the true artistic gems of Los Angeles” (Gustavo Dudamel).
Kotses currently serves as Pacific Symphony’s Vice President of Education and Community Engagement, a post she assumed in 2015 after joining the orchestra’s administrative team in 2007. During her lengthy tenure with the Irvine, California-based orchestra, Kotses built a dedicated, high-performing team that each year met and exceeded goals for participant satisfaction and impact, while annually serving over 60,000 constituents, engaging 1,000 volunteers, and training and deploying 50 teaching artists and content creators. Kotses came to management with first-hand experience as a professional singer and has more than 25 years of experience as a voice teacher, having taught at community music schools in both France and the United States, as well as privately.
Says Meserve, “On behalf of the entire LACC Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to be able to share the news that Susan Miller Kotses will serve as LACC’s next executive director. We are confident that with the tremendous depth and breadth of her arts, education, and community-building experience, she will skillfully guide LACC in the next phase of the organization’s strategic development while ensuring the choir’s continued innovation and success.”
Adds Malvar-Ruiz, “I represent the LACC staff in welcoming Susan Miller Kotses to this key leadership role. LACC has undergone unprecedented growth in recent years and long-term plans are in place to continue that trajectory in a number of new and exciting areas. I am personally very excited to work closely with Susan to accomplish these goals. Her enthusiasm and passion for providing access to the arts to everyone is a perfect match to the artistic vision of our organization.”
States Kotses, “Throughout my career I’ve built equitable, accessible, and transformative musical experiences. LACC’s strong emphasis not only on a rigorous music and vocal education, but also on engaging deeply with the Los Angeles community, creates unlimited possibilities for impact. I am thrilled to be partnering with Fernando Malvar-Ruiz to ensure LACC’s artistic and educational vision continues to grow. I also look forward to collaborating with Board Chair Dete Meserve, LACC’s dedicated Board of Directors, and the talented staff as we build a vibrant future together.”
Kotses’ appointment is the culmination of a six-month national search conducted by a committee of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus leadership chaired by LACC Board member Meghan Umber and facilitated by Syrah Gunning, Executive Search Consultant, and Brett Egan, President, of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, a leading provider of arts management services, training, and thought leadership for arts, cultural, and educational sectors worldwide. In February 2024, after Kotses begins her LACC tenure, LACC will initiate an eight-month strategic planning process led by Egan.
ABOUT SUSAN MILLER KOTSES
Susan Miller Kotses, a strategic arts leader, creates meaningful and impactful experiences for people of all ages and races and all abilities by leveraging the knowledge and experience gained from 16 years as a leader in education and community engagement, as well as nearly three decades as a professional singer and educator. A passionate and effective advocate for the power of the arts to transform lives, Kotses believes that the arts are a vehicle for change, not just a destination in themselves.
Kotses currently serves as Vice President of Education and Community Engagement with Pacific Symphony. Kotses built and leads a dedicated, high-performing team that each year meets and exceeds goals for participant satisfaction and impact, while annually serving over 60,000 constituents, engaging 1,000 volunteers, and training and deploying 50 teaching artists and content creators.
Co-creating programs with community partners is central to Kotses’ work. She has led her team at Pacific Symphony in achieving positive impacts through work in K-12 schools, large- and small-scale free public concerts, and sensory-friendly performances for seniors with dementia and children on the autism spectrum. With her team and Pacific Symphony’s community partners, Kotses curated and produced cultural festivals and multi-disciplinary concert experiences. Kotses also led efforts to feature Pacific Symphony’s partners prominently in the Symphony’s Family Musical Morning series, attended by 10,000 people annually.
In 2012, Kotses became the producer and script co-writer for Pacific Symphony’s annual Opera for Kids!, presented on the Symphony’s Family series, providing countless students with their first professional audition and performance experience, highlighting local professional singers, and introducing 12,000 children and families to opera for the first time.
Kotses served as a leader in Pacific Symphony’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and strategic planning process, and was central to Pacific Symphony securing significant multi-year grants to support education and community engagement work.
Kotses joined Pacific Symphony in 2007, holding positions as Director of Class Act, Director of Education and Community Engagement, and Senior Director of Education, prior to being promoted to Vice President of Education and Community Engagement in 2015.
Previously, Kotses served as Interim Artistic Department Manager for Pittsburgh Opera while earning a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
Kotses holds a Bachelor and Masters of Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and, for many years, was a professional freelance singer and music educator based in Paris, France, performing regularly with the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Opéra Comique, and the Thêatre du Chatêlet as well as at England’s Aldeburgh Festival, Greece’s Hellenic Festival, The Grand Theatre of Shanghai, and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.
A voice teacher with more than 25 years of experience, Kotses has taught at community music schools in both France and the United States, as well as privately. Kotses, who has always made singing a central part of her life, is currently a Cantorial Soloist at Temple Judea of Laguna Woods and performs in concerts as time allows. Kotses lives in Tustin, California with her husband and two Yorkshire Terriers.
ABOUT LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), widely recognized as one of the world’s preeminent youth choruses, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “the best children’s chorus I have ever heard” (Esa-Pekka Salonen), and “one of the true artistic gems of Los Angeles” (Gustavo Dudamel).
Founded in 1986 and led now by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, LACC annually appears in more than 50 public performances, including its own self-produced concerts and in collaborations with leading organizations such as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Pasadena Symphony and POPS.
With the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LACC won the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for its contribution to the live recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus and Pacific Chorale.
The Chorus appears on alumna Billie Eilish’s cinematic concert experience Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles, John Williams’ 2017 recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s critically acclaimed Decca recording, A Good Understanding. The subject of four documentaries by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award®-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir. LACC has also performed with John Mayer on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and been featured on PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, and Public Radio International’s nationally syndicated show “From the Top.”
The Chorus annually serves more than 500 children ages 6–18 from 40+ communities across Southern California through its seven choirs and two first experience classes, First Experiences in Singing and First Experiences in Choral Singing. Providing choral music education of the highest quality to young people who represent richly diverse racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds, LACC ignites a love of singing and nurtures the full expression of each chorister’s potential for artistic and personal excellence through the collaborative experience of choral music performance.
Recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s highest choral honor, LACC frequently serves as a cultural ambassador for Los Angeles on tours that have taken the Chorus across the country and to more than 20 countries on 6 continents.
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