San Francisco Opera names Eun Sun Kim as next music director, first woman to hold position

Posted on: December 6, 2019

“Eun Sun Kim, the South Korean conductor who made a powerful San Francisco Opera debut in June leading Dvořák’s ‘Rusalka,’ has been named the company’s next music director,” writes Joshua Kosman in Thursday’s (12/5) San Francisco Chronicle. “She will be … the only Asian woman to hold an artistic leadership role with a major North American opera company.” The 39-year-old conductor succeeds Nicola Luisotti, who stepped down in 2018. Kim’s five-year appointment takes effect August 2021. Her current season includes concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of San Diego, Cincinnati, Oregon, and Seattle. She is principal guest conductor of the Houston Grand Opera. Upcoming debuts include appearances with the New York Philharmonic and productions with the Wiener Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Metropolitan Opera. “Born in Seoul, she began her musical life as a pianist but switched to composing…. She originally took up conducting as a way to prepare for the possibility of having to conduct her own works … At 24, Kim moved to Germany for more study [and] spent an influential two years as an apprentice at the Teatro Real in Madrid and in the past 15 years has conducted widely throughout Europe.”

Posted December 6, 2019

Photo of Eun Sun Kim by Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle