Pittsburgh Festival Opera has announced the selection of Christopher M. Powell as its new Executive Director, effective March 12th, 2019.  

Mr. Powell comes to the organization after four years serving as Director of Artistic Initiatives for the world-renowned Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York, and will lead the Pittsburgh Festival Opera into its 42nd season alongside Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton.

“It is with great pleasure that Pittsburgh Festival Opera announces the appointment of Mr. Christopher Powell to the position of Executive Director,” said Board President Dr. Eugene Myers.  “His experience with the highly successful Glimmerglass Festival positions Pittsburgh Festival Opera to benefit from his leadership and to achieve a parallel degree of success.”

“I am honored to join the Pittsburgh Festival Opera team,” said Powell upon his acceptance of the position.  “I am truly impressed by the enthusiasm of the Board of Directors, staff, and Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton, who have given me insight into this wonderful company.  I look forward to moving back to my beautiful hometown of Pittsburgh and becoming a partner within its vibrant cultural community.”

Christopher M. Powell is a seasoned cultural executive with over twenty years of dynamic experience in arts and music administration.  As Director of Artistic Initiatives for the Glimmerglass Festival, he oversaw the production of Breaking Glass: Hyper-linking Opera and Issues, an eight-city tour of community conversations utilizing original music commissioned to focus on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in the opera industry.  In addition, he executed the role of Co-Executive Producer for the acclaimed podcast Breaking Glass, produced in collaboration with the WFMT Radio Network in Chicago, highlighting the central question of social responsibility within artistic organizations. 

During his fourteen-year tenure as Music Administrator for Pittsburgh Opera, Christopher acted as Producer of Co-Opera 2015; a collaboration between Carnegie-Mellon University’s School of Music, School of Engineering, School of Drama, and Heinz School of Management to create a single-night performance of five world premiere one act operas with livestream technology.  He has also lent his expertise as Orchestra Personnel Manager to the Spoleto Festival USA and the Tanglewood Music Center for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  From 1995 through 2001, Christopher was employed as a music educator and as Stage Manager for the 1995 Super Bowl XXIX halftime show produced by Disney Creative Entertainment.  He also served as Assistant Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh while also directing youth musical theater activities with Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and Pittsburgh Musical Theater. 

Christopher is a 2013 alumnus of OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Duquesne University, a Master of Music in French Horn Performance from the University of Miami, Florida, and a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Point Park University. 

The 2019 Season of Pittsburgh Festival Opera will commence on July 12th and will include Strauss’ The Love of Danae in concert, the world stage premiere of two operas composed by beloved television personality Fred “Mister” Rogers, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and as the second installment of Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s Ring Cycle, Wagner’s The Valkyrie.


About Pittsburgh Festival Opera

Founded in 1978 by renowned mezzo-soprano and music educator Mildred Miller Posvar, Pittsburgh Festival Opera is dedicated to presenting innovative opera, including American works, reinterpretations of older works, and new works, for the widest possible audience, focusing on diversity in programming and casting, crossing boundaries and bringing together talents from all the arts, encouraging new talent, and broadening audiences through outreach and education to create a body of work that is original, entertaining, contemporary and relevant.