As a public scholar, educator, and musicologist, Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano finds joy in teaching people about music and culture. For nearly two decades (2003–2022), she served as a faculty member and chair of music history at the Colburn Conservatory of Music, but has broadened her “classroom” in recent years to include many different types of students and audiences. Currently a Lecturer in Musicology at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, Dr. Brown-Montesano also works as a scholar-educator with many of Southern California’s most distinguished musical organizations, including LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Jolla Music Society, and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.
A respected opera scholar, 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” seminar lectures . Her book, Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007) offers fresh critical takes on the female roles in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute, re-evaluating source materials as well as common assumptions. The feminist lens of the book has attracted a growing audience of readers interested in the ethics of opera culture and production; in fact, the book was re-released as a paperback in 2021.
While opera holds a special place in her scholarly work, Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on a wide variety of topics including classical music in contemporary culture (use in media, initiatives targeting families and children, gender and representation), various manifestations of Sherlock Holmes as musician, and the popular reception of J.S. Bach in postwar America from Glenn Gould to the Golden Record to Hannibal Lecter. For more information, visit her website kristibrownmontesano.com