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Kristi Brown-Montesano


About this Artist

Kristi Brown-Montesano, Chair of Music History at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, received her Ph.D. in musicology from UC Berkeley, with a specialization in 18th-century western European music. A trained vocalist, studying with Stephanie Friedman and Jeffrey Thomas, Brown-Montesano was a long-time member of the American Bach Soloists. Her book Understanding The Women of Mozart's Operas (Univ. of Calif. Press, 2007), offers a detailed study of the female characters in the Da Ponte operas (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte) and The Magic Flute, re-evaluating common critical tropes and assumptions about this fascinating roles.

Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on uses of classical concert music in film, trends in marketing opera, the Wagnerian influence on the films of Lars von Trier, and gender politics in contemporary classical-music culture. Current projects include unraveling the mystery of Arthur Conan Doyle’s choice of the violin for his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, collaborating on a book on music and American television, an evaluation of postwar pop-culture reception of J.S. Bach in the US, and a study on opera, education, and children.

As a teacher and “public musicologist,” Brown-Montesano values every opportunity for connection and dialogue with students, teachers, musicians and audience members. In 2014, she was honored to participate in the UCLA Musicology Department’s Distinguished Lecture Series; in 2017, she was a panelist and presenter at the first “Women in Music Festival” at Mount Saint Mary’s University. An active speaker in the Los Angeles classical-music community, Brown Montesano collaborates with a number organizations in the Southern California area, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Salon de Musiques chamber series, Opera League of Los Angeles, Mason House Concerts, Performances a la Carte, and—beginning next year—La Jolla Music Society.

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