San Francisco, CA, January 4, 2017 – Opera Parallèle (OP) has named national non-profit arts leader Debbie Chinn as its new Executive Director, Board of Directors Chairman Robert Ripps has announced. Ms. Chinn comes to Opera Parallèle having served as Executive Director of the prestigious Carmel Bach Festival since 2012 and following previous positions at organizations including the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, California Shakespeare Theater (CalShakes) and others. Working with the Board of Directors and in tandem with founder and Artistic Director Nicole Paiement, Chinn will oversee all administrative facets of the innovative contemporary opera company including financial management, fundraising, strategic planning, education/outreach and marketing/communications and will begin her new role February 1, 2017 in time for the premiere of the company’s new production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight February 10-12 at YBCA Theater.

“After a competitive national search, we are extremely pleased that Debbie Chinn will join the Opera Parallèle team,” says Robert Ripps. “Her expertise and insight, broad base of experience, enthusiasm and innovative spirit are the perfect match for Opera Parallèle. She brings solid credentials in financial and program management and an equally important track record of expanding music and theater organizations’ horizons with integrity, energy and vision.”

Founder and Artistic Director Nicole Paiement says, “Debbie Chinn brings a truly wide range of experience and energy to Opera Parallèle. More important and exciting, she is a thought leader and innovator in the fields of music and theater, which is exactly what OP needs in an Executive Director to parallel the vision and work the company has been widely known for. Like OP, her ideas and thinking are fresh and expansive and we look forward to her partnership as we move forward.”

“I believe that the most successful arts organizations are the ones that challenge the status quo and bend a few rules in order to remain competitive and compelling,” says Chinn. “With Opera Parallèle, having been captivated by Nicole Paiement and her vision, I have no doubt that this is one of those rare and extraordinary organizations bursting with bold artistic innovation, passion and purposeful connectivity to multiple communities. This trifecta is enhanced by an amazing array of world-renowned artists, a strong Board of Directors, terrific staff, and OP’s ever-growing family of audiences and supporters. What a great honor it is to join Opera Parallèle and to be a part of the team to lead it to its next exhilarating plateau.”

About Debbie Chinn

Debbie Chinn served as Executive Director of the Carmel Bach Festival from 2012-2016, leading the administrative and operations of the Festival. She established a strategic vision to grow the Festival from a two-week summer festival in Carmel into a presenter of classical music concerts throughout the Monterey Peninsula over the course of a 12-month period. This vision was successfully achieved within four years. In addition, Chinn led the season planning process in partnership with Artistic Director, Paul Goodwin, and oversaw board and staff development, artist relations, fundraising, marketing, event planning, finances, and general management.

During her tenure, she curated and implemented new programming initiatives designed to broaden Carmel Bach Festival’s visibility in order to connect more authentically with new and under-represented constituencies. She launched a Music and the Mind series to explore the direct correlation between music and brain health. In 2013, she bolstered CBF’s Community Engagement programs which included the creation of classical music training workshops for young adults, an expanded six-month music appreciation residency at Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in Salinas, an immersive Fellowship program for emerging arts administrators in partnership the California State University of Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and she provided stronger interaction with community partners, social agencies, the military community, young professionals, and families.

Prior to her tenure at Carmel Bach Festival, Chinn served as a consultant for the Philadelphia Orchestra Association providing strategic guidance towards the implementation of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s China Residency program which launched in May 2012 with a five-city concert Tour of China, and served as the kick-off to the 40th anniversary of President Nixon’s historic visit to China.

Over the past 25 years, Chinn has held executive leadership positions as Managing Director at CENTERSTAGE (the State Theater of Maryland), California Shakespeare Theater, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. While at the San Francisco Symphony, she served as Volunteer Council Director overseeing the activities of 1,700 volunteers. She began her career at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), University of San Francisco, and Center Theatre Group of the Music Center of Los Angeles where she was responsible for volunteer event management and institutional fundraising.

She currently sits on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), the national coalition of ensembles created by and for theater practitioners and she is the past Board President of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), the statewide service organization providing programs and services for classical music producers and presenters in California and the west coast region. Her past board affiliations include Theatre Communications Group (the national consortium for professional nonprofit theaters in the United States), Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, California Arts Advocates, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute’s Leadership Council – based in Baltimore, MD.

Chinn serves as a consultant/advisor to organizations seeking to develop institutional capacity and is a frequent grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and for the City of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs. She has also adjudicated grant proposals for Theater Communications Group, the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council (Maryland), and the Baker Artists Awards supporting artists of all disciplines in the Baltimore region.

Chinn’s transformative work at the Carmel Bach Festival is featured as one of thirteen case studies in “Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World”, a new volume (spring, 2016) in the International Leadership Association Series which assembles thought leaders to reimagine leadership in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable world.

Chinn is originally from Syosset, NY and she attended the University of Southern California, majoring in Theater, under the artistic direction of John Houseman.