Seattle Opera's Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale announced this week that the company has appointed Sue Elliott as its new director of education.
Elliott begins July 12. Perry Lorenzo, Seattle Opera's director of education from 1992 to 2009, died Dec. 19, 2009.
Elliott is currently serving as the manager for HGOco, the educational outreach branch of Houston Grand Opera. In this role, she created a new model for community engagement and education through HGO's Song of Houston initiative, a program that creates new works celebrating the people of Houston through collaborative educational and artistic projects. In 2009, Song of Houston received the Leading Lights Diversity Award in Arts and Culture from the National MultiCultural Institute-the first opera company to do so.
Through Song of Houston, Elliott facilitated the creation of the program's new works, including "The Refuge," performed in November 2007, which allowed the company to connect with more than 200,000 first-time opera-goers.
Elliott, the 2009 recipient of the Houston Grand Opera Guild's Bravo Award for Professional Excellence, was also instrumental in the creation of a Mariachi opera and a project celebrating blues music in Houston.
A former stage manager who has worked with Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Canadian Opera Company, among others, Elliott was the first Canadian recipient of an OPERA America fellowship in Production and Stage Management.
Elliott is an accomplished clarinetist and pianist who holds a masters of music performance degree from the University of Southern California, an artist diploma from the University of Toronto, and a degree in music performance from McGill University in Montreal.
Along with this appointment, Seattle Opera's Education Department has undergone additional changes. Jonathan Dean, previously Seattle Opera's education artistic administrator, has assumed the newly created position of director of public programs and media. Aren Der Harcopian, previously the Young Artists Program manager, has been appointed Seattle Opera's artistic administrator and director of the Young Artists Program. Dean has been in his new position since March; Der Harcopian transitions to his new role in July. Melanie Ross, previously Seattle Opera's company manager, is now director of artistic operations and season planning.