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Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano combines rigorous scholarship and a joy of human connection to invite a richer relationship with music—whether in the academic classroom, the concert hall, or a podcast.

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Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano combines rigorous scholarship and a joy of human connection to invite a richer relationship with music—whether in the academic classroom, the concert hall, or a podcast.

Bio

Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano approaches graduate seminars, adult-education classes, podcasts,  and pre-concert lectures with the same philosophy: that offering context—rigorously researched, provocative, and humanistic—empowers listeners and musicians to make their own meaningful connections to classical music. Currently Chair of Music History at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music and a Lecturer in Musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Dr. Brown-Montesano also has ongoing relationships with many of Southern California’s most distinguished musical organizations, including the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Jolla Music Society, and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

A respected opera scholar, Brown-Montesano broke new critical ground with her book Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007),  re-evaluating source materials as well as common reception assumptions about the female roles in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute. The book’s feminist lens has attracted a growing audience of readers interested in the ethics of opera culture and production, prompting a new paperback edition in 2021. Dr. Brown-Montesano collaborates regularly with the Los Angeles Opera on a variety of educational initiatives, from pre-performance talks and podcasts to free community courses and “Opera for Educators” seminars.

While opera holds a special place in her scholarly work, Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on a wide variety of topics including the use of classical concert music in film, music’s role in the original Sherlock Holmes stories and later adaptations, and popular reception of J.S. Bach in postwar America from Glenn Gould to the Golden Record to Hannibal Lecter. For more information, visit kristibrownmontesano.com.

Bios (Short & Long) for Download
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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

Public Scholar

Public Scholar

I believe in public scholarship because ideas from the academy have tremendous potential to enliven our public conversation about classical music.
Learn more

2

Musicologist

Musicologist

Who cares if you listen—or play? What should you play and why? How should the past inform the present?
Learn more

3

Professor-Mentor

Professor-Mentor

Classical music culture requires young performing artists, graduate students, and arts administrators to stress reputation, advancement, and competitive excellence. I understand this. But I don’t want these pressures to eclipse the fact that we’re also simply human.
Learn more

1

Public Scholar

I believe in public scholarship because ideas from the academy have tremendous potential to enliven our public conversation about classical music.

2

Musicologist

Who cares if you listen—or play? What should you play and why? How should the past inform the present?

3

Professor-Mentor

Classical music culture requires young performing artists, graduate students, and arts administrators to stress reputation, advancement, and competitive excellence. I understand this. But I don’t want these pressures to eclipse the fact that we’re also simply human.

Public Scholar

Pleasure is great. Pleasure with insight is better.

Musicologist

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

Professor-Mentor

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

I believe in the important work of public scholarship because ideas from the academy have tremendous potential to enliven our public conversation about classical music. 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 scholarship also combines performativity and provocative ideas, adding depth to what might otherwise be a fairly superficial transaction.

    •  
Subjects Covered

Beethoven

A Serving of Beethoven: Lunchtime Concerts

Livestream Co-Host. 

Beethoven, Archduke Rudolph, and the Piano Trio, Op. 97

Preconcert Lecture.

Beethoven @ 250 Opening Lecture: The String Quartet
Beethoven and Brahms Piano Trios

Preconcert Lecture.

Beethoven at 250, String Quartet Concert

Preconcert Lecture. Quartets Op. 18 No. 5, Op. 95, Op. 127

Beethoven’s Op. 59 Quartet: New Style Directions

Pre-Concert Lecture. Works by Beethoven, Schubert, and G. Lekeu.

The Classic String Quartet

Pre-Concert Lecture. Haydn, Op. 76, no. 2; Beethoven, Op. 95 “Serioso.”

 

Classical

Music for Piano Four Hands

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. 

The Classic String Quartet

Pre-Concert Lecture. Haydn, Op. 76, no. 2; Beethoven, Op. 95 “Serioso.”

 

Romantic

Beethoven’s Op. 59 Quartet: New Style Directions

Pre-Concert Lecture. Works by Beethoven, Schubert, and G. Lekeu.

Fantasias and Four-Hand Piano

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Schubert and Schumann.

Late Brahms Chamber Works: Inspiration and Revision

Preconcert Lecture. Special all-Brahms program.

Mendelssohn and Bach

Preconcert Lecture. All-Mendelssohn program.

Music for Piano Four Hands

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. 

Schubert and Vienna

Preconcert Lecture. All-Schubert program.

Schubert Lieder and Piano Trios

Preconcert Lecture. All-Schubert program.

Tears of Joy, Tears of Sorrow

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Schubert and P. Scharwenka.

The Classic String Quartet

Pre-Concert Lecture. Haydn, Op. 76, no. 2; Beethoven, Op. 95 “Serioso.”

The ‘Woman-Composer Problem’ in the 19th Century

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Mendelssohn-Hensel, Wieck-Schumann, and Schumann.

Three Schumanns

Preconcert Lecture. Works by G. Schumann, R. Schumann, and Wieck-Schumann.

Trios, with and without Clarinet

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Bruch.

Two Masterful String Quartets

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Schubert and Schumann.

 

Late Romantic/Modernist

Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky: Commonalities and Contrasts.

Preconcert Lecture.

French Musical Identiy and the Société National de Musique

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Franck, Saint-Saëns, and Chausson.

German Chamber Music at the end of the 19th Century: Hidden Treasures

Preconcert Lecture. Works by R. Strauss, Schumann, and X. Scharwenka.

New Musical Nationalisms in Northern Europe

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Grieg, Sibelius, and Bridge.

Ravel Sonatas for Cello and Piano

Preconcert Lecture.

Ravel’s Chamber Music and French Neoclassicism

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Ravel and Paul Juon.

Reinhold Glière and Bedřich Smetana

Preconcert Lecture.

Romantic Classicists

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Brahms, Bruch, E. Zeisl, and J. Röntgen.

Russian Chamber Music: A Duo, Trio, Quartet, and Quintet

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Arensky.

“Russian Nationalism” and the St. Petersburg Conservatory

Preconcert Lecture. Chamber and vocal works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich.

Strauss before and during the Third Reich

Preconcert Lecture. Chamber and vocal works by R. Strauss.

The Belyayev Circle: Russian Music after The Five

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Glazunov, Liadov, Nápravník and Shostakovich.

The English Musical Renaissance into the Twentieth Century

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Bowen, Bax, and Clarke.

The Moscow School

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Taneyev and Arensky.

The Russians! Tchaikovsky’s Influence

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Tchaikovsky, Arensky, and Rachmaninoff.

 

Mixed Eras

A Feast of Flutes (with String Antipasti)

Livestream Co-Host. Works by Bach, Sibelius, Kanna, Doppler, Marricone and Williams.

Danish String Quartet – Works by Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Webern, and Bartok.

Set of three lectures regarding new Prism recordings release and live concert.

Minor Modes: Keys and Meaning in Three Chamber Works

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Beethoven, Spohr, and Schubert.

Nigunim: Songs Beyond Time and Words

Preconcert Lecture. Gil Shaham, violin, and Orli Shaham, piano; works by Kreisler, Dorman, Wheeler.

Point/Counterpoint

Preconcert Lecture. Exploring the concept of counterpoint and its role in Western classical composition. Works by Valentini, Haydn, Mozart, Elgar, and Reich. 

Romantic Evocations: Chamber Works as Song without Words

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Mendelssohn, R. Strauss, and P. Scharwenka.

Sonatas for Solo String and Keyboard

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Bach, Chopin, and Saint-Saëns.

The Concerto Grosso: Then and Now

Pre-Concert Lecture. SummerFest Finale with Nicholas McGegan, conductor; works by Bach, Norman, Mozart, Vivaldi, Handel, and Zwilich.

The Sonata for Violin and Piano in Four Acts

Preconcert Lecture. Midori, violin, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano; works by Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, and Enescu.

The Unfolding of Music: Tradition and Innovation

Preconcert Lecture. David Finckel, cello, and Wu Han, piano; works by Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and Britten.

Three German “Classic-Romantics”

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Mendelssohn, Bruch, and M. Moszkowski.

Three Works for Four Strings

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Purcell, Schubert, and Mendelssohn.

“Tracking” the String Quartet: The Hunt

Preconcert Lecture. Danish String Quartet; works by Haydn, Mozart, Nielsen, and Widmann.

Viennese Classicism and Chamber Music

Preconcert Lecture. Works by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Film Music Seminar with Conrad Pope (composer) and Ed Barguiarena (John Williams collaborator; conductor and orchestrator).

Lead seminar with an introduction on the general topic of combining music and image. Invited each expert to present their creative process, thoughts on music’s role in film and examples of work. Then shifted into moderating a discussion with both experts. 

Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
A Brief History of the Violin and the French Violin School

Summer String Bootcamp, Colburn School of Performing Arts.

A Very Modern, Major Generalist (at the Conservatory)

Article: Musicology Now (6 March 2017).

Ethel Smyth Podcast

Script Creator and Narrator, The Da Camera Society.

Exploring “Classical” Music

Introductory Seminar, Notre Dame Academy.

Exploring Beethoven’s Ninth

Adult Education Course, Colburn Community School.

Holding Don Giovanni Accountable

Article: Musicology Now (5 Dec 2017).

Mozart’s Early Years in Vienna

Television Series Development. Technical Advisor on pilot script, two-season storyline. Head Writers: Todd Kessler, Alberto Arvelo, and David Mazzarri.

Music between the World Wars

Adult Education Course, Colburn Community School and LA Opera Board of Directors.

Music in the Weimar Republic

Adult Education Course, Colburn Community School.

Polarization in Musicology: A dialogue with Pierpaolo Polzonetti

Post-Truth and the Musical Humanities Conference, Part II. Organized by Wolfgang Marx and Alexandra Monchick (September 2021).

The Classical Style, of Sorts

Article: Musicology Now (June 2014)

Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
Keynote for New Media and Opera Future Tense Conference, Los Angeles Opera.

In Conversation with Christopher Koelsch (President and CEO of Los Angeles Opera) and composer Matthew Aucoin (Los Angeles Opera Artist in Residence)

Interview with composer Angélica Négron regarding “Morivivì” (world premiere)

Plus lecture on William Grant Still‘s Symphony No. 1 Afro-American and Lieberson, Neruda Songs. Upbeat Live, LA Philharmonic’s Power to the People Festival.

Interview with composer Tania León regarding “Ser” (world premiere)

Plus lecture on Bernstein’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium. Upbeat Live, LA Philharmonic.

Interview with conductor Susanna Mälkki and new works composers

Including Francesco Filidei, Arnulf Herrmann, Lotta Wennäkoski, Miroslav Srnka, and Yann Robin. Upbeat Live, LA Philharmonic Green Umbrella.

Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
Beethoven’s Fidelio.

Interview/discussion with director Alberto Arvelo, DJ Kurs (Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre), and ASL choreographer Colin Analco before performances of, staged in collaboration with Deaf West Theater (April 2022). LA Philharmonic Upbeat Live.

Behind the Curtain: A Conversation with LA Opera Connects’ College Advisory Committee.

Panel Discussion Moderator.

Choir Loft or Stage? Bach’s St. Matthew Passion as Musical Drama

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Class and Gender Politics in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Dante and Gianni Schicchi: The Quest for “Italian” Art

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Early Verdi: The Creative Arc from Nabucco to Rigoletto

Lecture, Opera League of Los Angeles.

Fairytales, Opera, and the Art of Retelling (Rossini’s Cenerentola)

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice (World Premier)

Moderator for LA Opera post-performance conversation with Beth Morrison, producer; Danielle de Niesem, soprano; and Raehann Bryce-Davis, mezzo-soprano.

Mozart’s Così fan tutte

Featured expert: “North Stage Door,” Episode 2 (podcast), San Francisco Opera. 

Music, Politics, and Mercy: Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito

Opera for Educators Lecture, LA Opera.

Old and New Musical Styles: Corigiliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Opera and Children: Historical Contexts and New Directions

Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.

Puccini’s Aida: The Music, The Women, The Drama

LA Opera Podcast Script and Appearance. 

Stravinsky and Cocteau’s Oedipus Rex

Los Angeles Opera Discover Podcast, Featured Guest.

Handel’s Alcina

LA Opera preconcert video lecture

Rossini’s Cenerentola

LA Opera preconcert video lecture.  

Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Rossini’s Cenerentola

Seminar lecture series, Los Angeles Opera Connects.

New Opera: “A Trip to the Moon”

Special dialogue with composer Andrew Norman.

The Two Barbers, or Paisiello Vs. Rossini
Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.
What are they singing about? Learning to “Read” Opera
Lecture, LA Opera’s Opera for Educators.
 
Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
Adams, Harmonielehre

Preconcert interview with conductor Edo de Waart for the Colburn Orchestra.

All-Schumann Program

Preconcert lecture on Overture to Genoveva, Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 3, and Symphony No. 4 for the (organization).

Beethoven and the Orchestra

Preconcert lecture for LA Philharmonic Invited Rehearsals (Special programming for middle school and high school music students).

Beethoven, Piano Concertos 1–3.

Preconcert lecture for the UpBeat Live, LA Philharmonic.

Brahms, Symphony No. 1.

Preconcert lecture for the UpBeat Live, LA Philharmonic.

Bruckner, Symphony No. 4 and Ginastera, Concerto for Harp

Preconcert lecture and interview with conductor Alexander Prior for the Colburn Orchestra.

Concerts for Fifth Graders for Orange County Youth Symphony, Johannes Müller Stosch, director

Narrator and script advisor two programs: Creativity and Overcoming Adversity (2022) and Music and the Elements (2020). 

Debussy, Iberia; Ravel, Piano Concerto for Left Hand; Respighi, The Pines of Rome

Preconcert lecture for the UpBeat Live, LA Philharmonic.

Haydn’s “‘Lord Nelson’ Mass” and Beethoven’s Mass in C.

Pre-recorded preconcert lecture for UpBeat Live, LA Philharmonic.

In Search of “American” Symphonies: Charles Ives & Antonín Dvořák

Preconcert lecture for LA Philharmonic Invited Rehearsals (Special programming for middle school and high school music students).

Nielson, Concerto for Flute

Preconcert lecture plus interview with Joachim Thomsen (flute) for the Colburn Orchestra.

Prokofiev, Symphony No. 3 (Fiery Angel)

Preconcert interview with conductor James Conlon for the Colburn Orchestra.

William Grant Still and the Harlem Renaissance

Seminar lecturer for the LA Philharmonic Symphonies for Schools program (preparatory seminars for K-12 teachers before they bring their students to a special performance.)

William Grant Still

Preconcert lecture for LA Philharmonic Invited Rehearsals (Special programming for middle school and high school music students).

Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
Chopin at Twilight – Emanuel Ax, Piano

All-Chopin program. Preconcert lecture for La Jolla Music Society.

Laughter and Lessons in the City of Lights – Beatrice Rana, Piano

Works by Chopin, Debussy, and Stravinsky. Preconcert lecture for La Jolla Music Society.

Sources of Inspiration: A Look at Extramusical Influences on Composition – Behzod Abduraimov, Piano

Works by Price, Schumann, Liszt, Rachmaninoff. Preconcert lecture for La Jolla Music Society.

The Piano in the Nineteenth Century – Yefim Bronfman, Piano.

Works by Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy. Preconcert lecture for La Jolla Music Society.

The Sublime Goldbergs: An Overview – Lang Lang, Piano

Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Preconcert lecture for La Jolla Music Society.

Sherlockian Genius and Music in House, M.D.

Invited Faculty Presentation. Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb (2021).

“Strad Fever” and Sherlock’s Violin

Invited Faculty Presentation. UCLA Musicology Department, Distinguished Lecturer Series (2015).

Sample Topics in Alphabetical Order
Choose to Challenge: Women’s History Month 2021

Special Digital Content, Los Angeles Opera. 

LA Classical: Women Who Stepped Up

Special Digital Content, The Colburn School. 

 Music, Women, Diversity – Women in Music Festival, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles

Panelist with Rhiannon Giddens (American Roots musician), Assal Habibi (Assistant Research Professor in Psychology, USC), Jessie Vallejo (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Mariachi Director in Cal Poly Pomona’s Music Department), Fredara Hadley (Founder of Jooksi and scholar of African American and popular music), and Shana L. Redmond (Associate Professor of Musicology in the Herb Alpert School of Music and African American Studies at UCLA).

Topics in Alphabetical Order
Ah! non credete al perfido!: The Women of Don Giovanni

Program essay for Asociación Bilbaina de Amigos de la Ópera, 2016.

Listen to Her: Hearing the Women in Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Program essay for San Francisco Opera’s production of Don Giovanni (2022).

Saving Carmen from Carmen

Lecture for the Gender Sounds Conference, organized by the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) (2022).

Sisters of Choice: Susanna and the Countess

Program essay for the National Opera, Washington DC (April 2010) and Houston Grand Opera (2011).

The Queen’s Humanity

Program essay for La Monnaie production of Mozart’s Der Zauberflöte (2018-19 season).

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

Program essay for the Royal Danish Theater (Det Kongelige Teater) (2010).

The Women of Don Giovanni

What for whom? (2021).

The Women of Hoffmann’s Tales: From Life to Fantasy Stories to Opera

What for whom? (2017).

The Women of Mozart’s Operas

Preconcert lecture for Girls on the Run benefit performance (2018).

Vivan le femmine! Las mujeres en Don Giovanni

(Vivan le femmine! The Women in Don Giovanni) Program essay for Asociación Bilbaina de Amigos de la Ópera (2005).

Women and Opera: Characters, Singers, Composers, Producers

What? for Orange County School of the Arts (2018).

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Presenting Organizations

Chamber

La Jolla Music Society
Preconcert Lecturer (Chamber Series, Piano Series)

Le Salon de Musiques
Preconcert Lecturer, Moderator of Post-Performance Q&A

Mason Concerts
Preconcert Lecturer

Performances à la Carte
Preconcert Lecturer

The Da Camera Society
Podcast Script Creator, Narrator

Opera

Opera League of Los Angeles
Seminar Lecturer (For League Members and Public)

Los Angeles Opera
Lecturer, Moderator, Panelist

Los Angeles Opera – Opera for Educators Program
Seminar Lecturer (K-12 Educator Continuing Education, Professional Enrichment)

Los Angeles Opera – Seminar Lecture Series
Curriculum Development, Lecturer

Symphony

Los Angeles Philharmonic – Upbeat Live
Preconcert Lecturer

Los Angeles Philharmonic – Invited Rehearsals
Moderator (Initiative for Middle- and High-school Music Students)

Los Angeles Philharmonic – Symphony for Schools
Curriculum Development, Lecturer (Special concert for K-12 Teachers and Students)

The Colburn School
Preconcert Lecturer, Host, Interviewer

The Colburn Community School
Adult Education Course Development, Instructor

Colburn School of Performing Arts, Summer String Bootcamp
Special Seminar Lecturer

Notre Dame Academy
Special Seminar Lecturer

Orange County School of the Arts
Special Seminar Lecturer

Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Summer Intensive for Strings
Special Seminar Lecturer

Philharmonic Society of Orange County: Concerts for Fifth Grade
Narrator and Script Advisor

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Scholarship Engagement Options

Preconcert Lectures and Interviews

  • Creating a context for the audience.
  • Preparing the audience for experiencing a new work.
  • Facilitating discussion with featured artists or composers to bring the audience inside their lived experience. 

Concert Program Essays 

  • Focus and word-count developed in collaboration with presenting organization.
  • Creating a framework for individual performances that adds depth, meaning and connection for audiences.
  • If desired, broaden historical context by integrating issues of social relevance, sexual politics, interpretation.

Concert Performances that Integrate Scholarship and Storytelling

  • Collaboratively developing concepts for programming.
  • Authoring or editing scripts or narration.
  • Performing in-concert as Master of Ceremonies or Narrator

Adult Educational Music History Cirriculum

  • Designed to offer greater insight into the music itself and how the music fits into a larger historical narrative
  • Accessible regardless of adult learners’ musical experience, knowledge.
  • Highly visual, media rich, interactive.

K-12 Music Educational Experiences

  • Developing custom curriculum in consultation with educators.
  • Accessible to all young people, regardless of musical experience.
  • Storytelling-based and highly interactive.

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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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Who cares if you listen—or play? What should you play and why? How should the past inform the present? Given my professional credo and my core impulses of curiosity and critique, I cannot ignore the big questions. I am deeply interested in investigation and participation in musicology’s diverse conversations.

Books

Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas

University of California Press (2007); reissued in paperback, 2021.

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

Edited by Phil Powrie and Robynn Stilwell, Ashgate Press, 2005.

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Journal Articles

Outperforming Sherlock: Musical Imagination and Representation of Genius in House M.D

New Theories, 1/2021 (June 2022).

 

Terminal Bach: Technology, Media, and the Goldberg Variations in Postwar American Culture

BACH: Journal of the Bach Riemenschneider Bach Institute, 50/1 (Spring 2019),
81–117.

 

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

In Date Order, Most Recent First

Controlling the Narrative: Challenges in Staging Mozart’s The Magic Flute Keynote Lecture for the Exploring Opera Symposium

University of North Carolina, Wilmington and Opera Wilmington
21-22 February 2020.

Star-Cross’d: Houston Grand Opera’s Serial Web Opera

New Media and Opera Future Tense Conference, 14 Feb 2020.

Opera as Contemporary Edutainment: Andrew Norman’s A Trip to the Moon Music and Stage Conference

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, (Kent, UK), 20–21 October 2018.

The Wagnerian Roots of Lars von Trier’s “Depression Trilogy”

Annual meeting of the American Musicological Society: Rochester, NY, 12 November 2017.

Public Musicology as Skilled Performance

Annual meeting of the College Music Society, Santa Fe, October 2016.

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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Invited Talks

In Date Order, Most Recent First

Saving Carmen from Carmen

Lecture for the Gender Sounds Conference, organized by the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC), 21 March 2022.

Polarization in Musicology: A dialogue with Pierpaolo Polzonetti

Post-Truth and the Musical Humanities Conference, Part II
Organized by Wolfgang Marx and Alexandra Monchick, 20 September 2021.

Sherlockian Genius and Music in House. M.D

Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, 2 June 2021.

Music, Women, Diversity Panel Participant

Women in Music Festival, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, 25 March 2018.
With Rhiannon Giddens (American Roots musician), Assal Habibi (Assistant Research Professor in Psychology, USC), Jessie Vallejo (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Mariachi Director in Cal Poly Pomona’s Music Department), Fredara Hadley (Founder of Jooksi and scholar of African American and popular music), and Shana L. Redmond (Associate Professor of Musicology in the Herb Alpert School of Music and African American Studies at UCLA)

Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Works

Department of Comparative Literature, UCLA, 24 Oct. 2017.

“Strad Fever” and Sherlock’s Violin

UCLA Musicology Department, Distinguished Lecturer Series, 20 November 2015.

Intersections of Gender and Class in Così fan tutte

Department of Musicology, UCLA, 1 December 2004.

Bach at the Movies

Department of Musicology, UCLA, 2 June 2004.

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Editorial & Review

Peer Reviewer

  • University of California Press
  • University of Michigan Press
  • The Journal of the American Musicological Society
  • Music and the Moving Image
  • Elements in Music Since 1945

Review
Larry Wolff, The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon Austrian Studies Newsletter, Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota (Fall 2017)

Review
The Classical Style, of Sorts
Journal – Musicology Now (20 June 2014).

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

Reviewer
San Francisco Classical Voice
(April 1999–September 2000)

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 Membership & Service

American Musicological Society
Member (2000 to Present)
Service on AMS Communication Committee (Fall 2021 to Present)

Pacific Southwest Chapter – American Musicological Society
Member (2015 to Present)
Chapter Secretary (June 2015–July 2019)

Mozart Society of America
Chair, Emerson Prize Committee Chair (2011 and 2012)
Member, Committee for Emerson Prize (2010)

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Education & CV

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.

Curriculum Vitae

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Classical music culture requires young performing artists, graduate students, and arts administrators to stress reputation, advancement, and competitive excellence. I understand this. But I don’t want these pressures to eclipse the fact that we’re also simply human.

Yes, my graduate studies trained me in complex analytics regarding music, its mechanics and its history. But my academic “professing” centers on provoking conversations that don’t privilege competitive performance or unquestioning worship of the canon over bare curiosity and honest engagement. My goal is to keep musical humanity at the fore.

Teaching and 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.

Teaching & Service

Lecturer
Musicology Department, The Herb Alpert School of Music
University of California, Los Angeles
2022–Present

Faculty and Chair
Colburn Conservatory Music
2003-2022

  • Chair of Music History (2010–2022)
  • Curriculum Advisory Committee (2021–2022)
  • Undergraduate advisor (2013–2022)
  • Advisor: Capstone Projects for MM degree (2015–2016; 2018-19; 2020-2022)
  • Academic Affairs Committee (2005–2020)
  • Steering Committee for Launching of Degree Program, Colburn Conservatory of
    Music (2003–2004)
  • Music-history courses in both the bachelor’s and master’s programs (2003–2022)

Adjunct Faculty
Dominican University, San Rafael, CA
2002

Lecturer
University of California, Davis
1989–1990, 2001

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Courses
Music “In Memoriam”

This seminar explores a particular type of composition in Western classical tradition: works commemorating the dead, including those lost to violence and war; the repertoire spans most of the Western classical music tradition, from Josquin’s La Déploration de Johannes Ockeghem to Higdon’s Blue Cathedral.

Music between the World Wars

This seminar investigates the many stylistic innovations, aesthetic movements, and socio-political dynamics of the interwar period in terms of Western classical music and other art forms.

Music on Stage and Screen

This course explores music’s roles in “collaborative” art forms, specifically opera and musical theater, ballet, and film and television; covering works from the 17th century to the present day, this course focuses on music but also examines socio-political issues that are particular to narrative art forms, including representation (i.e. race, gender) and nationalism.

Style & Idea: Masters in Music (MM) Capstone Course

A project-driven course for Master of Music students, applying acquired analytical skills in both music theory and music history.

The Figaro Trilogy

In-depth seminar on three operas inspired by Beaumarchai’s “Figaro” plays: Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786, pre-French Revolution), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (1816, post-French Revolution), and Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles (1991, bicentenary of Mozart’s death).

Topics Courses

Freshman Music Seminar

Active introduction to fundamentals of music history, music theory, and musical style (western classical, as well as popular and non-western) through critical engagement with select works within and parallel to the Western Classical repertoire.

Music After the Second World War

Survey course covering the postwar period through the turn of the century, focusing on aeshetic concepts, stylistics innovations, cultural movements, and current debates about “contemporary classical.”

 

Historical Timeframe Courses

Western Classic Music Survey Courses
  • Middle Ages through the 17th century.
  • Late 17th century through the early 19th century.
  • 19th Century to 1945.
History of Western Music: Era of Empires and Marketplaces 

An in-depth survey of Western music during 17th and 18th centuries, including the role of imperial political structures and new marketplaces for musicians and composers.

Exploring “The Ninth”

A detailed study of Beethoven’s last symphony, including musical and perfomance analysis, cultural context, literary significance, and reception history.

Writing about Music

Emphasis on learning specific skills, incorporating technical description, historical contextualization, subjective reaction, and certain stylistic conventions necessary in writing about music.

Music on Stage and Screen

This course explores music’s roles in “collaborative” art forms, specifically opera and musical theater, ballet, and film and television; covering works from the 17th century to the present day, this course focuses on music but also examines socio-political issues that are particular to narrative art forms, including representation (i.e. race, gender) and nationalism.

Topics in Chamber Music: The String Quartet 1

Seminar-style course exploring issues of stylistic development, cultural context, performance practice, and reception of the string quartet from the 18th century through the modernist period of the 20th century.

Topics in Chamber Music: The String Quartet 2

Seminar-style course exploring the string quartet with an emphasis on works of the 20th and 21st centuries and an investigation of string-quartet culture today: performance, programming, reception, and general culture of the genre in the contemporary world.

Introduction to Opera

An overview of opera, introducing concepts, repertoire, aesthetics, and cultural contexts from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo to Berg’s Wozzeck.

A Tale of Two Operas: Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Rossini’s Cenerentola

Four-week online lecture, free to the community, sponsored by Los Angeles Opera Connects; the two works were part of the LAO 2022-23 season.

Beethoven and the Ninth through History

This course charts Ninth Symphony’s journey through time, examining how this work—like its composer, Beethoven—has come to symbolize an array of values including revolution, nationalism, and freedom.

Music between the World Wars

Crafted for a broad audience, this version of my interwar course offers an overview modernism and other aesthetic movements, illustrated by representative composers and works; an ability to read music is not required.

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Mentoring

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

Concert soloist, leader and educator; BBC Music Magazine ‘Rising Star’ 2018

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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Advising

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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NEWS & EVENTS

  • Opera for Educators / Tosca

    Saturday, October 29, 9:00 am
    Tosca: Puccini’s ultimate prima donna! This Opera for Educators session is open to the public, not just educators! Dr. Brown-Montesano will delve into the aesthetics of Italian “verismo” (“realism”) and  Find out more »
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  • Final Pre-Concert Lecture / Lucia di Lammermoor

    Sunday, October 9, 1:00 pm
    Lucia is trapped in an impossible situation. Her abusive brother hates the man she loves. Worse, he’s forcing her to marry someone else in a last-ditch effort to shore up  Find out more »
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  • Opera for Educators / Rhiannon Gidden’s Omar

    Saturday, October 8, 9:00 am
    Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels bring their new opera—Omar—to Los Angeles. This presentation is open to the public, not just educators! Co-presentation with Dr. Tiffany Kuo on the sounds of contemporary  Find out more »
    Read more
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