main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

main menu


Christopher Kendall Award

The Alumni Society Board of Governors established the Christopher Kendall Award in 2015 to honor the tenure of Emeritus Dean Christopher Kendall. The Christopher Kendall Award recognizes one alumnus/a or an ensemble of alumni of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance from any graduation year who has demonstrated collaboration and/or entrepreneurship and/or significant community engagement and/or interdisciplinary studies and/or patronage to the arts in their professional work.


2017 Recipient

Christopher Koelsch (MA '95, theatre)

Christopher Koelsch










Christopher Koelsch has been with the Los Angeles Opera since 1997 and is currently President and Chief Executive Officer. He oversees all aspects of artistic planning, including repertoire development, music administration, the casting of artists, and the selection of guest conductors, working alongside General Director Pl├ícido Domingo and Music Director James Conlon. He has overseen the creation of more than 35 new productions, including seven world premieres, and the production of eight television recordings, includingRise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,which won two Grammy Awards upon its DVD release. Under Mr. Koelsch’s leadership, the company has successfully launched its “Off Grand” initiative, institutionalizing experimentation with subject, form, and venue for opera. He has guided LA Opera through a remarkable period of reinvention, emphasizing fiscal responsibility, the highest standards of artistic excellence, and significant growth in both the diversity of repertory and audiences alike.

Mr. Koelsch began his career at the Spoleto Festival USA, where he was rehearsal administrator then relocated to the West Coast to become the company manager at Opera Pacific prior to joining LA Opera. Mr. Koelsch serves on the USC Thornton School of Music Board of Councilors. He lives in downtown Los Angeles with his husband and two dogs.


Past Recipients

PRISM Quartet

main navigation bar - top row

main navigation bar - bottom row

Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower