Academy of Vocal Arts Announces New President & Artistic Director

By David Salazar

The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) has announced the selection of Scott Guzielek as its incoming president and artistic director, effective July 1.

Guzielek, who is currently serving as the Academy’s Vice President and General Manager since 2019, will take over for K. James McDowell, who is retiring after nearly four decades of distinguished service in the top role. As Vice President and General Manager, Guzielek assumed responsibility for the administrative management of the organization. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, his work with McDowell ensured that AVA persevered in training singers by adopting a hybrid approach of in-person and virtual voice lessons, coaching, and performances. Additionally, during his tenure, AVA successfully attained new fundraising objectives and witnessed a surge in ticket sales.

Prior to working at AVA, Guzielek was the director of artistic operations of Palm Beach Opera and Artistic Administrator of Washington National Opera. He was often a judge of the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition and other competitions around the country.

“I’m honored and deeply grateful to the AVA board for this opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of such bright, talented people,” Guzielek said in an official press release. “I look forward to continuing the AVA’s fine legacy of musical excellence and helping it achieve new goals in the years to come.”

McDowell held the top title since 1986 and oversaw the expansion of the AVA campus, augmented AVA’s scholarship endowment, established endowed fellowships for all resident artists, and secured accreditation of AVA’s curriculum from the National Association of Schools of Music.