« Back to Home Kristi’s core attributes

Beyond what Dr. Brown does, who she is—according to colleagues, friends, and students.


Friends, students, and colleagues report appreciating Kristi’s unwavering support, especially noted in times of set-backs or complications. She views relationships both in terms of someone’s immediate needs and the long-term journey.

What People Say

Juan Miguel Hernandez Viola Teacher and Soloist

As one of the first Colburn students, I met Dr. B. back in 2007. Through the years, she has shown me the best qualities to model myself after, as a teacher, and she has become a very important mentor in my life. She has proven she can be trusted at all levels as someone I can approach regarding virtually anything. She is extremely wise, brutally honest but in the most caring of ways.

Bruno Montesano CEO, Nuove Sales

As her husband, I’ve seen Kristi give everything for her children—our family and her students—making sacrifices that are not common among women of her generation and background. They owe her immensely for who they are today.

Amelia Dietrich Violinist

Dr. Brown brings a riveting sense of knowledge and excitement to the classroom. She works hard to find things that are relatable, creating a learning environment that is never outdated or boring. And outside the classroom she's a committed student advocate—always willing to help us address any issue and work through any problem.

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Colleagues and students note Kristi tailors her avid creativity to real-world contexts. Constraints have sharpened her skills working with a variety of students and audiences, striving for more authentic communication and relationship.

What People Say

Deborah Smith Library Director and Director of Academic Programs - The Colburn School

Kristi’s success is her adaptability. She can assess the needs of the classroom and the students and figure out the way to best present the subject matter. She is also adaptable in her spontaneity—following what happens in the classroom, rather than rigidly sticking to her plan. She knows how to meet students where they are, achieve the desired result, and inspire them.

Alice Simpson Artist, Author and Arts Patron

Kristi arrives in her best shoes, and with an abundance of knowledge and an awareness of her audience. When asked a question, rest assured that Kristi will answer with clarity and exuberance, and she will inspire a conversation.

Elicia Silverstein Performer on Historical and Modern Violins

Dr. Brown's commitment and creativity were truly extraordinary. She never ceased to challenge an often-preoccupied student body to think critically about music. She always got to know each student individually, and knew when to give support or tough love, pushing that student towards greater things.

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All collaborators confirm Kristi approaches her work—as teacher and scholar—with a spirit of determined advocacy: addressing the whole person, ethical critical engagement, and social awareness (classroom, concert hall, and community).

What People Say

Liviu Marinescu Composer

Kristi is a fighter—for noble ideas and the welfare of her students and colleagues.

Nancy Albin Vice President - Los Angeles Habilitation House

When Kristi commits, she is all in—building bridges, working hard at relationships. Petty negativity or seemingly overwhelming circumstances do not shake her resolve.

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Combining history and wit, Kristi specializes in bringing Big Ideas down to earth. Using humor, performative skills and deep preparation, she is noted for keeping the conversation surprising, joyful and—at times—pleasurably absurd.

What People Say

Benjamin Anderson French Horn Teacher and Soloist

We have talked through crises—major and minor. But what I will forever cherish is the laughter. The joy she brings to those around her is remarkable. Through Dr. Brown I found a lightness in music I had never known to exist.

Jill Burnham Former Education Manager, Los Angeles Opera

Kristi has the unique ability to present complicated and potentially dense, academic ideas in a highly entertaining and accessible way. She immediately builds trust through warmth and humor. I think the teachers in our program felt respected because Kristi did not need to dominate and impress with the scope of her academic knowledge. Rather, her approach was to engage, inspire and—dare I say?—entertain.

Francois Chouchan Pianist, Composer and Artistic Director of Le Salon de Musiques

We want the Le Salon de Musiques to allow more people to discover and access the classical music world. And Kristi has a very friendly approach. She is very close to the audience and makes people laugh. Kristi never talks to the elites only. She stays herself—gentle, generous and very human.

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Fresh & Curious

Kristi’s scholarly interests reflect a fierce, ecumenical curiosity. Colleagues and students commend her for asking questions that are often ignored, and advocating for alternative points of view with logic, resolve, and empathy.

What People Say

Callan Milani Low Brass Performer and Teacher

Dr. Brown takes the road less traveled. She’s pretty fearless about tackling unconventional and controversial issues that make people think differently about their musical experience. She uses her charisma and knowledge to inspire people and—more importantly—grantsothersthe courage to share observations, ask questions, and debate.

Ian Pritchard Professional Early Keyboardist and Musicologist

Kristi has been an incredible mentor to me. She has taken an active role in my teaching and work, taking the time needed to observe, critique, and suggest. Her ideas and feedback are always fresh and challenging —in a good way.

Robert Fink Professor of Musicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Kristi is an intrepid scholar, following her instincts and driven to think critically about cultural texts in context. Despite the lack of a research mandate for her job at the Colburn School, she is still contributing to the field of musicology, connecting important works of art to contemporary political and cultural issues like feminism and the authority of the classical canon, and the role of the artist in society.

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