Operations Director

Kathy Acosta Zavala has been serving the Tucson musical community since 2013 and joined the Tucson Desert Song Festival as its Operations Director last year.

Recognized for her leadership and organizational skills, she was asked to serve on the Tucson Guitar Society Board of Directors in 2013, and subsequently became its Operations Director. In 2015, Kathy’s management experience 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 graduating with a Ph.D. in Music, Musicology from 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. In 2020, Kathy was also honored by the Fred Fox School of Music Advisory Board with a Distinguished Graduate Student Award.

Truly passionate about learning the distinct roles that need to converge to bring a musical work to life, Kathy has worked with leading arts organizations around the country such as the Boston Early Music Festival, Aquilon Music Festival, and the American Musicological Society.

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