Talented Tasha: A Sense of Musical Adventure

Native Hawaiian soprano Tasha Koontz, Music Director of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar, has established herself as one of the finest opera singers in the San Diego area. Well known to local audiences through her performances with San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony, Tasha is the General Director and co-founder of the FF Collective. I sat down with her recently to discuss some of her many musical endeavors, beginning with her recent founding of the FF Collective, a nonprofit organization with a mission “to create performance opportunities for a wide range of artists to promote diversity and inclusivity within the Southern California Arts Community.” The FF Collective has presented many top-notch events, including a concert performance of Verdi’s La Traviata at St. Peter’s, with Tasha herself in the lead role. I asked Tasha what led her to form the company:


“Part of our vision for making it happen has been creating artist-driven performance opportunities. We want to perform things that the artists themselves are excited about performing, and we really wanted to make space for many different kinds of artists: for artists with disabilities or for artists who are working parents—making a space for women in the arts, both as administrators and as performers with agency, and of course making space for artists within the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) community and the LGBTQ+ community, which all seem like hot-button topics right now but those ideas are things that I personally have been trying to figure out how to make space for a long time, and this has just come to fruition now in the current climate.”


Tasha has been music director at St. Peter’s since 2017, using her position to bring great music to Del Mar. She founded the St. Peter’s Unity Concert Series, and frequently hires top musicians to perform at St. Peter’s services including SDSU faculty, the Hausmann Quartet. Tasha brings a sense of musical adventure to her repertoire choices, especially during summer services, where programming built around themes such as Disney songs or John Williams compositions has charmed attendees. During the pandemic, Tasha kept the music going, producing elaborate performances for online services, and sometimes layering as many as 60 tracks of her own singing to create what Rector Paige Blair-Hubert lovingly called “the choir of Tashas.” 

Photo by Tina Krohn.

Tasha is poised for major success on the opera stage. She recently joined the roster of Athlone Artists and has given acclaimed performances with the Chicago Symphony under the baton of Maestro Ricardo Muti. Her favorite roles to sing include Violetta from La Traviata, “because I find her to be so complex, and [singing Violetta] was the first time I really felt like I lived a whole life on stage during one performance, because there’s so much growth that she goes through.” 


Tasha has a particular affinity for Mozart, and will sing the fiery role of Donna Anna in the FF Collective’s upcoming production of at St. Peter’s on April 30th and May 1st. She also has begun to work more frequently with contemporary composers, including at the Del Mar International Composers Symposium. She explains, “there’s something really special about getting to do a piece of music for the very first time and having the responsibility of creating that first performance for the audience.” Whether presenting a world premiere, directing the St. Peter’s choir in a medley of Lady Gaga or Harry Potter tunes, or singing one of opera’s greatest roles, Tasha Koontz has brought great joy to audiences across the San Diego area and particularly to music lovers right here in Del Mar.


Ed. Note: Jordan Kuspa is the founder and director of Del Mar International Composers Symposium (DMICS).