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Chair of the music-history faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Kristi Brown-Montesano received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, combining her strong interest in both musical performance and scholarly research.

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Chair of the music-history faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Kristi Brown-Montesano received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, combining her strong interest in both musical performance and scholarly research.

Bio

Chair of the music-history faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Kristi Brown Montesano received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, combining her strong interest in both musical performance and scholarly research.

Her book The Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007) offers a detailed study of the female characters in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute. Dr. Brown Montesano has presented and published essays on music in contemporary film, opera, trends in marketing classical music, and musical culture in late 19th-century England.

In 2014-15, she was honored to participate in the UCLA Musicology Department’s Distinguished Lecture Series. An active “public musicologist,” she has been engaged by numerous organizations in Los Angeles, including the LA Opera (“Opera for Educators”), the Opera League of Los Angeles, the Mason House Concerts, and the Colburn Orchestra. She is especially thrilled to join the LA Phil’s “Upbeat Live” faculty this concert season.

Long Bio Coming by soon.

Click here to read Short BIO

Bios
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Curriculum Vitae
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Headshots
If published, please include photo
credit: Elisa Ferrari Photography
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1

Professor-
Mother

Professor-Mother

The definition of profess: “to declare or admit openly and freely.” Therefore, I openly admit that my role as Dr. Brown has made me a better Mother. And my role as Mom has made me a better Dr. Brown.
Learn more

2

Mentor

Mentor

Mentoring provides me some of my most rewarding professional experiences. It’s a discerning connection that creates an opportunity to support another person’s growth—ideally, without defaulting to concern for my own reputation or agenda.
Learn more

3

Independent
Scholar

Independent Scholar

My academic day job does not require me to do research. But given my professional credo, and my core impulses of curiosity and critique, I cannot ignore the big questions
Learn more

4

Public
Musicologist

Public Musicologist

I believe in the important work of public musicology because people don’t know what they don’t know. A pre-concert lecture or program note links the music and its history to the listener, the performer, the composer.
Learn more

1

Professor-Mother

The definition of profess: “to declare or admit openly and freely.” Therefore, I openly admit that my role as Dr. Brown has made me a better Mother. And my role as Mom has made me a better Dr. Brown.

2

Mentor

Mentoring provides me some of my most rewarding professional experiences. It’s a discerning connection that creates an opportunity to support another person’s growth—ideally, without defaulting to concern for my own reputation or agenda.

3

Independent Scholar

My academic day job does not require me to do research. But given my professional credo, and my core impulses of curiosity and critique, I cannot ignore the big questions

4

Public Musicologist

I believe in the important work of public musicology because people don’t know what they don’t know. A pre-concert lecture or program note links the music and its history to the listener, the performer, the composer.

Professor-Mother

In some way, they’re all my kids.

Mentor

Care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with. —Maya Angelou

Independent Scholar

I can’t resist taking on a mystery—or a lie.

Public Musicologist

Pleasure is great. Pleasure with insight is better.

The definition of profess: “to declare or admit openly and freely.” Therefore, I openly admit that my role as Dr. Brown has made me a better Mother. And my role as Mom has made me a better Dr. Brown.

It was not usual for my generation of Ph.D. candidates to have only Doktorvaters as mentors. But during grad school, I missed the female and the feminine in my professional development. And my path—birthing two children and a dissertation—was radical in its own way. (I find this complementary duality is still fairly rare in academia.)

The integration of Professor-Mother informs my style in the classroom, the questions I ask as a scholar, and the way I relate to young people with time and attention, an allowance for difference, a strong adherence to intellectual standards, and the mission of helping my students (and birth children) achieve self-actualization on their own terms.

Education

Ph.D. – Music History and Literature

University of California, Berkeley, 1997, with distinction.
Dissertation: A Critical Study of the Female Characters in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte.
Committee: Dr. Daniel Heartz Chair; John Thow; James Grantham Turner.

M.A. – Music History and Literature

University of California, Berkeley, 1988.

B.A. – Music

University of California, Davis, 1985, magna cum laude.

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Teaching

COLBURN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

Chair, Music History
(Fall 2003–present; department chair since 2010)
Responsible for music-history staffing and curriculum development for undergraduate and master’s music-history divisions.

Undergraduate Courses (music-history surveys and electives)

  • Exploring Music: History, Culture and Practice (introductory course)
  • The Middle Ages through the Early Baroque
  • The Late Baroque to Early Romantic Eras
  • Late 19th Century to 1945
  • Topics on Music after 1945
  • Topics in Chamber Music: The String Quartet
  • Music on Stage and Screen: Opera, Ballet, Music Theater, Film
  • Writing about Music (Advanced Music History Seminar)

Master’s Courses

  • Graduate Remedial Music History and Literature
  • Music on Stage and Screen: Opera, Ballet, Music Theater, Film
  • The Figaro Project: From Beaumarchais to Mozart, Rossini, and Corigliano
  • Music “In Memoriam”: Repertoire of Music for the Dead/Commemorative Works
  • Exploring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
  • Master’s Comprehensive Review: Style and Idea

Administration

  • 2005 to present – Academic Affairs Committee
  • 2010 to present – Chair of Music History Department
  • 2011 to present – Undergraduate Faculty Advisor
  • 2013 to present – Master’s Faculty Advisor
  • 2015 – Conservatory Dean Search Committee
  • 2014 – Special Curriculum Committee
  • 2009-2010 – Faculty Advisor to Student Council
  • 2009-2010 – Benefits Advisory Committee
  • 2003–2004 – Steering Committee for Launching of Bachelor’s Degree Program

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

Visiting Faculty Lecturer
Department of Musicology, The Herb Alpert School of Music (Spring 2010)
MUSHST 12W: “Writing about Music”

DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY

Adjunct faculty (Spring 2002)
Created and taught new graduate seminar for the Masters in Humanities program, “Musical Women and ‘Womanly’ Music”

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

Lecturer (1989, 1998, 2001)
Courses 

  • Music History for Majors: the 18th and early 19th Century
  • Music of a Major Composer: Bach
  • Music of a Major Composer: Stravinsky
  • Introduction to Music Literature

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Course Materials

Coming Soon – Course descriptions, syllabi, etc. 

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Vocal Performance

PRIZES

Eisner Prize for Creative Arts
Creative achievement of the highest order in Music: Voice.
UC-Berkeley, 1988.

UNDERGRADUATE / UC Davis

Soprano (ensemble and soloist)

  • University Chorus
  • University Chamber Chorus
  • Early Music Ensemble
  • Jazz Chorus
  • SacriCantori (Renaissance and Baroque chamber group)
  • Vocal studies with Stephanie Friedman

GRADUATE SCHOOL / UC Berkeley

Soprano (ensemble and soloist)

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Academic Professional Memberships

American Musicological Society (AMS)

College Music Society (CMS)

Pacific Southwest Chapter, American Musicological Society

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Further Details

Full CV

Full Bio

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Mentoring provides me some of my most rewarding professional experiences. It’s a discerning connection that creates an opportunity to support another person’s growth—ideally, without defaulting to concern for my own reputation or agenda. I strive to see students and junior colleagues as they truly are, with the aim of discovering and developing their natural strengths, curiosity and calling.

Colburn Alumni

Juan Miguel Hernandez

Concert soloist and Assistant Professor of Viola, The Royal Academy of Music, London

Our Conversation A wide-ranging ongoing dialogue about the potential for connection between performers and scholars, concert programming themes, and the realities of a professional performer’s life.

Elicia Silverstein

Professional freelance violinist, currently on trial with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom she performed as one of the two viola d’amore soloists on their St John Passion tour in March 2016.

Our Conversation While at Colburn, supported Elicia’s exploration of historical tuning and the extreme ends of the violin repertoire (early music and experimental modernism). After Colburn supported her successful application for the prestigious Netherlands-America Foundation Fulbright grant for 2013-2014 to study connections between avant-garde twentieth century Italian music and seventeenth-century stylus phantasticus music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where she recently completed her Master of Music degree with the highest honors.

Callan Milani

Professional freelance trombonist and creator of original music education content (outreach performance programs and an in-development graphic novel)

Our Conversation Reviewing and advising on scripts, presentation strategies and original scores. Offering support on development of a digital interactive graphic novel with musical subject.

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Graduate Students

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Guest Faculty & Chairperson, for Ph.D. dissertation Committee
Candidate: Ian Pritchard
Dissertation Title: The Ricercari and Masses of Annibale Padovano, with a Focus on Musical Borrowing.

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Colburn Conservatory Service

2009-2010 – Faculty advisor to Student Council
2011 to present – Undergraduate Academic Advisor
2013 to present – Master’s Academic Advisor
2017 – Faculty member of Community Engagement Team

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My academic day job does not require me to do research. But given my professional credo, and my core impulses of curiosity and critique, I cannot ignore the big questions. Who cares if you listen—or play? What should you play and why? How should the past inform the present? So while no institutional forces demand that I continue researching, I’m still deeply interested in investigation and participating in musicology’s diverse conversations.

Books

Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas

University of California Press (2007)

“The Troll Among Us” in Changing Tunes: Issues in Music and Film

Edited by Phil Powrie and Robyn Stilwell – Routledge (January 2006)

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Journal Articles

 

Pathètique Noir: Beethoven and The Man Who Wasn’t There

Beethoven Forum, 10/2 (Fall 2003)

 

Iron Ludwig Sees His Shadow: A Cautionary Tale

Journal of Musicological Research, 19/1 (1999), 27–36

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Papers Read

Monstrous Burden: Wagner’s Ring and Lars von Trier’s “Depression Trilogy”

National Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Rochester, NY (9-12 November 2017)
Music and the Moving Image Conference, NYU/Steinhardt (27–29 May 2016)

“Strad Fever” and Sherlock’s Violin

UCLA Musicology Department, Distinguished Lecture Series (20 November 2015)

The Secret of Sherlockʼs Violin: A Study in (Musical) Motives

North American and British Studies Association biennial conference – University of Nevada, Las Vegas (July 31 – August 3, 2014)

Opera Education, Ethics, and Carmen for Families

The 6th VERGE Conference: Arts and Ethics, School of the Arts, Media, and Culture – Trinity Western University, Langley, BC (October 18-19, 2012)

The Magic Flute as Family Entertainment

Mozart Society of American biennial conference – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. (20-23 October 2011)

No Child’s Play, or A Young Person’s Guide to The Magic Flute

Interdisciplinary conference, “After The Magic Flute” – University of California, Berkeley (March 5-7, 2010)

Il dissoluto punito, or Don Giovanni Unmasked

Scholarly seminar and panel: “In Search of Don Giovanni : The Origins, Interpretations, and Legacy of Mozart and Da Ponte’s Anti-Hero” – Sponsored by the Center for Austrian Studies and the School of Music Opera Theatre, University of Minnesota (April 2005)

Intersections of Gender and Class in Mozart’s Così fan tutte

Guest Lecturer – UCLA Department of Musicology (December 2004)

Bach at the Movies

Guest Lecturer – UCLA Department of Musicology (June 2004)

When Sharon met Sergei or BibbidiBobbidi Bach: Creating Popular Markets for Classical Music for Children

U.S. Chapter Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music
University of California Los Angeles (September 2003)

Pathètique Noir: Beethoven, Isolation, and Longing in The Man Who Wasn’t There

Conference: Reviewing the Canon: Borrowed Music in Film – Stanford University (May 2003)

Perfectly Executed: Bach’s Music, Technology, and Violence in Film

National Meeting of the American Musicological Society – Columbus, OH (November 2002)

Cultured Killers, or Terminal Bach

Conference: Music/Image in Film and Multimedia: Cliché or Emerging Language? – New York University (June 2001)

The Daughter of Superstition and Patriarchal Reason: Power and Parenting in Die Zauberflöte

Conference: Feminist Theory and Music II: A Continuing Dialogue – Eastman School of Music/University of Rochester (June 1993)

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Program Notes and Other Essays

“Ah! non credete al perfido!”: las mujeres y Don Giovanni

(Ah! non credete al perfido!: The women of Don Giovanni)
Essay for published season booklet of the Asociación Bilbaina de Amigos de la Ópera (October 2017).

Sisters of Choice: Susanna and the Countess

Program essay for the National Opera, Washington DC (April 2010)
Also published by the Houston Grand Opera (2011)

The Taming of Isis: Women and Freemasonry in The Magic Flute

Program essay for the Royal Danish Theater (DetKongeligeTeater), (January 2010)

“Vivan le femmine!” Las mujeres en Don Giovanni

(Vivan le femmine! The Women in Don Giovanni”)
Essay for published season booklet of the Asociación Bilbaina de Amigos de la Ópera (October 2005)

Living Dead Opera

Arts and Entertainment Section of Britannica.com (April 2000)

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Editorial Experience

Review Editor
US Academic Decathlon on Romantic Music
Materials for 2011–2012 .

Co-Founding Editor
Repercussions: Critical and Alternative Viewpoints on Music and Scholarship
(vols. 1–2, 1992–1993)

Assistant Editor
Nineteenth-Century Music
(Spring 1985–Fall 1986)

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Professional Service

June 2015—Present
Secretary
Pacific Southwest Chapter, American Musicological Society

2011 & 2012
Chair
Committee for Emerson Prize (Mozart Society of America)

2010
Member
Committee for Emerson Prize (Mozart Society of America)

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I believe in the important work of public musicology because people don’t know what they don’t know. A pre-concert lecture or program note links the music and its history to the listener, to the performer, the composer. It creates relationship. And at its best, public musicology also combines performativity and provocative ideas, adding depth to what might otherwise be a fairly superficial transaction.

Current Engagements, Select Topics

Opera League of Los Angeles

(2017–present)
Lecturer – seminars for members and the public connected with current LA Opera season.
Topics:

  • The Women of Hoffmann’s Tales: From Life to Fantasy Stories to Opera
  • Early Verdi: the Creative Arc from Nabucco to Rigoletto

Le Salon de Musiques chamber-music concert series

(2015–present)
Resident musicologist, lecturer, and co-host.
Francois Chouchan, Artistic Director
Select Topics:

  • The “Moscow School”: works by Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Rachmaninov, and Taneyev
  • “Our souls still languish for unattainable happiness”: Romanticism and the canon
  • Richard Strauss and musical Germany under National Socialism
  • Minor-Mode Beginnings and Endings: Beethoven’s Op. 18, No. 4 and Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 (Death and the Maiden)
  • The Rise of American “Classical”: Amy Beach and Samuel Barber
  • Rebecca Clarke and the challenge of being a “woman composer”
  • Three Pianist-Composers in two centuries: Beethoven, Fauré, and Henriette Bosman

Los Angeles Opera: Opera for Educators Program

(2004–present)
Lecturer; seminars offered to area educators for professional enrichment
Topics:

  • The Women of Don Giovanni: class and gender politics
  • Puccini, Dante, and Italian nationalism in Gianni Schicchi
  • Old and new operatic styles in John Corigliano’sThe Ghosts of Versailles
  • Musical styles and characterization of the female characters in Mozart’s operas
  • “Figaro” Operas: Lectures on Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Corigliano’sThe Ghost of Versailles  (in conjunction with LA Opera’s “Figaro Project”)
  • Mozart’s Idomeneo

Colburn Chamber Music Society and Colburn Orchestra

(2010–12; 2017)
Pre-concert lecturer
Select Topics:

  • A Conversation with Conductor Edo de Waart: the road to Adams’s Harmonielehre
  • Poulenc and the world of Les Six
  • Who makes the better harp? Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro
  • Stravinsky’s “objective” Octet and the role of the performer

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One-Time Engagements

Techniques of adaptation in Schubert’s Death and the Maiden Lied and String Quartet in D minor, D. 810.

2017 October – Guest Lecturer, UCLA Comparative Literature Department – Faculty host: Romy Sutherland

Panel Discussion: “Public Musicology” as skilled performance.

2016 October – Presenter, Annual Meeting of the College Music Society

Mozart’s early years and the “Haffner” Serenade in D Major, K. 250.

2010 (January-March) – Advisor and Research Consultant – Script revisions for John de Lancie regarding his pre-concert show for Cleveland Orchestra

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Events

Le Salon de Musiques: From Russia with Love

A wonderful chamber-music series in the heart of downtown. The Salon brings performing artists and audience close together for an afternoon of music, champagne, and conversation. Includes an introduction to  Find out more »

Mason House Concerts

I will be giving the concert introduction, exploring the genre of the piano trio, specifically Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio and Shostakovich’s Trio No. 1. The program features outstanding Los Angeles-based performing  Find out more »

LA Phil “Green Umbrella” Concert: Upbeat Live lecture

Pre-concert lecture for an evening of outstanding new works led by Principal Guest Conductor Susanna Mälkki and featuring the LA Phil New Music Group.
More events

News & Essays

  • Celebrating 100 Years with the LA Phil @ Upbeat Live

    Friday 05:15 AM 06.01.18
    I am thrilled to be continuing my work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during the 2018-19 season, the orchestra’s centennial celebration. As a member of…
    Read more
  • Invitation from the Royal Opera House in Brussels

    Tuesday 10:58 AM 05.01.18
    This month I received an exciting commission from dramaturge Antonio Cuenca Ruiz at La Monnaie, the Royal Opera House in Brussels. He is working with…
    Read more
  • LA Classical: Women Who Stepped Up

    Thursday 03:45 AM 03.01.18
    In honor of National Women’s History Month, this is a blog essay I wrote for the Colburn School newsletter. Many important news outlets had already done…
    Read more
More news

About

Chair of the music-history faculty at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, Kristi Brown Montesano received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, combining her strong interest in both musical performance and scholarly research.

Her book The Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007) offers a detailed study of the female characters in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute. Dr. Brown Montesano has presented and published essays on music in contemporary film, opera, trends in marketing classical music, and musical culture in late 19th-century England.

In 2014-15, she was honored to participate in the UCLA Musicology Department’s Distinguished Lecture Series. An active “public musicologist,” she has been engaged by numerous organizations in Los Angeles, including the LA Opera (“Opera for Educators”), the Opera League of Los Angeles, the Mason House Concerts, and the Colburn Orchestra. She is especially thrilled to join the LA Phil’s “Upbeat Live” faculty this concert season.

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If published, please include photo credit: Elisa Ferrari Photography

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