Tragic cancer death of Houston’s Miah Im

Tragic cancer death of Houston’s Miah Im


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2021

The popular and accomplished Miah Im – Music Director at Houston Grand Opera Studio, Professor of Opera and at Rice University and former Head of Music Staff at Los Angeles Opera – has died of cancer at the age of 47.

Canadian born, she won the Marilyn Horne award for vocal accompanying and went on to become one of the most empathetic trainers and judges of operatic voices. She moved to Houston 18 months ago and was diagnosed only in the past year.

LA Opera writes: ‘Our hearts are extremely heavy today as we mourn the loss of Miah Im. As our former Head of Music Staff and long term member of our artistic team, her light shined brightly beyond the music department, charming every one of us with her warmth, knowledge, and enthusiasm for and encouragement of her fellow artists.
An incredible musician and leader within the company, she will be remembered not only for her contributions to our collective artistry, but for her enthralling humanity – her friendly greetings, bright smile and the delicious baked goods she’d share just because.
Miah will be dearly missed.

Alissa Albertson writes: ‘My heart is broken into a million pieces. Miah Im profoundly impacted my life, not just as a musician but as a friend. She was a champion, a muse, an artist of the highest caliber, a defender, a fighter, a style icon, an inspiration, a generous soul, a liver of life, a teacher, a giver, a quiet grace, and a beautiful wild storm.
‘She always knew when you walked into her studio whether you really needed to sing or if you needed a hug and a friend. She inspired you to make the bold choice of believing in yourself.
‘The legacy you leave behind will continue to thrive in all of us who loved you and were lucky to have been loved by you. I promise we will keep your energy alive through inspired music making and bold love. You will always be a force and an inspiration. I love you forever, my wonderful giggly friend.’ 

Sarah Vautour: ‘To say that Miah Im was my rock during my time in LA would be an understatement. As everyone that knew her knows, she had an incredible gift for seeing the light and love in everyone. She was my friend, mentor, confidante, and role model. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and encouraged me to continue the work when I wanted to quit. I will always remember our time together whether in the opera house or in her backyard drinking wine in the kiddie pool.’

Caitlin Aloia: ‘A profound sadness looms over our musical family today. There is no way to describe the impact that Miah Im had on everyone she met, especially those she collaborated with and coached. Her knowledge, intuition, and determination knew no bounds. She invited (and pushed) me to explore the bounds of my instrument, and inspired me to sing new rep, no matter how hesitant I was about the high notes. I would bring her pieces that I never thought I would sing in public, and she coached them into my package. She also sang them better than me… she had an unreal range. There is much to process yet, but I am comforted by all the memories I have of us together. She is a hero, and that was evident until her last day. Loved and respected by so many, fly high Miah.’

Grant Gershon: ‘Miah—you are so loved. You will always be a part of us’