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INO Hires Maximiano “Max” Mendez as General Director


Filling the position of General Director for INO has been a challenging proposition for the Board of Directors, so it is with great excitement that we announce Max Mendez will be joining our leadership team beginning in June. Many INO supporters are very familiar with Max already, as he has been involved with the organization since its inception as Opera Plus! as an on-stage artist, musical

staff, fundraising volunteer and visioning session participant.

His many years of experience as an administrator, educator and performer as well as his collaborative spirit and existing relationships in the Inland Northwest community make him uniquely qualified for this position.

In his own words,

“I am beyond excited to join the leadership team at Inland Northwest Opera. I look forward to strengthening this company’s well-established foundation and connection to our community.

I welcome the opportunity to build new partnerships and collaborations to bring our beloved art form to all.”

Although he is new to this role, he is a long time friend of the organization and I do believe INO will be well served during his tenure. On behalf of the INO Board of Directors, I extend a very warm welcome to Max and I hope that you all will do the same.

Mary Velazquez

INO Board Chair

Max Mendez has been active in the Inland Northwest music community for nearly 25 years. For the last eighteen years at North Idaho College, he has served as Professor of Music and Director of Choirs and Vocal Studies. Additionally, he acted as Division Chair of Communication and Fine Arts.

He has worked in the opera world for the last 33 years, starting as a developing artist in the chorus of Opera Pacific (Orange County, CA) in 1990. Since then, he’s sung featured and lead roles with Opera Pacific (Costa Mesa, CA), Long Beach Opera, Spokane Opera, Inland Northwest Opera (OperaPlus!/Opera Coeur d’Alene), Spokane Symphony, and Walla Walla Symphony. Max has also served as chorusmaster with INO from 2001-2019.

Mendez has lived in the Inland Northwest since 1997, raising his four children with his wife, Michelle, and supporting the arts in all capacities. He has served on the Board of Directors for Spokane Public Radio and is currently on the board of the Coeur d’Alene Arts & Culture Alliance.

As an arts administrator, he was a founder and artistic director of Spokane Choral Artists. Max is committed to accessibility, inclusion, and relevance in the arts. He believes in the awesome and profound power of music.


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