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Local Couple Donate $5 Million to Opera

Pasadena philanthropists Terri and Jerry Kohl have made a $5 million gift and pledged a challenge grant in support of the LA Opera Orchestra and the company’s post-COVID recovery, part of which will be used to fund an upcoming production of “Oedipus Rex” by Igor Stravinsky.
The challenge grant has been designed to raise money for the company’s endowment, ensuring long-term support for the orchestra. This gift, in recognition of the unique hardships that artists are facing as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns, is the largest pandemic-era gift the company has received to date and makes the Kohls among the largest donors in LA Opera history.
“We are extremely touched by — and grateful for — the generous, heartfelt and meaningful support from Terri and Jerry, which comes at a critical moment for the company,” said LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. “Our stage has been regretfully dark for a year, and while we have been able to provide our orchestra some level of financial support as well as performance opportunities through our “On Now” digital programming, this gift will help to ensure that we are able to return to pre-COVID levels of employment and artistic strength as soon as it is safe to do so.”
In recognition of the gift, the company has named Terri and Jerry Kohl sole underwriters of the LA Opera Orchestra, officially calling it the “LA Opera Orchestra, generously underwritten by Terri and Jerry Kohl.”
“I cannot think of anyone in our community who has demonstrated such care and support for orchestral musicians,” said LA Opera Board Chair Marc Stern. “Terri and Jerry’s support of LA Opera’s orchestra will not only be transformative for the future of the company, it will also be a powerful affirmation of the excellence, artistry and individual worth of each member of the orchestra, many of whom play for orchestras and ensembles throughout Southern California.”
Made up of 62 core musicians, the LA Opera Orchestra can encompass as many as 100 players, depending on repertory.
“I am deeply grateful to Terri and Jerry Kohl for having demonstrated such generosity in giving the members of our LA Opera Orchestra the support and recognition that their consistently high level of performance has merited,” said James Conlon, LA Opera’s music director. “In the nearly 15 years since I came to Los Angeles, I have come to know our musicians not just as world-class artists but as wonderful colleagues whose dedication to their art and to the company is unswerving. Their artistic contribution is fundamental to LA Opera’s powerful artistic image, and I am gratified to know that my personal appreciation for our orchestra musicians is not only shared, but amplified, by the Kohls’ extraordinary generosity.”
Longtime attendees and generous supporters of LA Opera, the Kohls have been contributors to the company since 2008. The Kohls are recognized as civic and cultural benefactors across Los Angeles and nationwide as a result of their individual and corporate generosity, with leadership support of the region’s most prominent musical organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Colburn School, Pasadena Symphony, Muse/ique, Pasadena Pops and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Terri Kohl currently serves as president of the Blue Ribbon, The Music Center’s premier women’s support organization. They are the founders and owners of Brighton, a producer and retailer of women’s fine accessories products available in Brighton Collectible stores, fine specialty boutiques and online. In addition to their personal giving, their company generously donates to a variety of national and local charities, including the company’s Power of Pink program which raises money to fight breast cancer.
“Terri and I are passionate about live music performances, but we care even more about the individual musicians who make those treasured experiences possible,” said Jerry Kohl. “For more than a year, the lives and careers of classical musicians have been completely upended by the pandemic. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that the organizations that employ them, giving them the opportunities to share their talents with our communities, have the resources they need for returning to live performances as soon as possible. The LA Opera Orchestra is comprised of dozens of the nation’s top players, many of whom have become friends. It is a true honor for Terri and me to be associated with this orchestra, LA Opera and the outstanding service they provide to our community.”
“The last 12 months and the next 12 months have been and will be the most challenging in Los Angeles music history,” he continued. “We’re stepping up because we passionately care. I hope others will step up and show their passion for Los Angeles musicians by giving whatever they can, big or small.”


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