Operations Director

Kathy Acosta Zavala has been serving the Tucson musical community since 2013 and is thrilled to be joining the Tucson Desert Song Festival as its Operations Director.

Recognized for her leadership and organizational skills, she was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tucson Guitar Society in 2013, and subsequently became its Operations Director. In 2015, Kathy’s management role led her to become the Production Manager and Artistic Director of the “Sundays in the Garden” concert series, a collaboration between Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Guitar Society.

In the world of academia, Kathy has served as chair of the Graduate Student Music Conference Organization Committee and was the Conference Organizer of the 2018 Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference, which welcomed over 100 scholars from all across the SouthWest region.

A musicologist and classical guitarist by training, Kathy is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation reveals Vahdah Olcott-Bickford’s crucial role in the construction of the modern American guitar landscape. Her other research interests include the soundscapes of protests in the United States as well as American symphonic commissions during WWII. Her paper “War, Institutions and Commissions: A Study of the 1943 League of Composers’ War-Themed Commissions,” was recognized as best student paper at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference.

Truly passionate about learning the distinct roles that need to converge to bring a musical work to life, Kathy has worked as Assistant to the Musical Directors for the Boston Early Music Festival; Stage Manager for the 2019 Aquilon Festival and for her alma mater’s outdoor production of Daniel Catán’s La Hija de Rappaccini; and a stagehand.

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