A few random things…
(Three) favorite composers: Bach, Stravinsky, John Adams
Desert island symphony cycle: toss-up between Sibelius and Mahler
Recording everyone needs to hear: Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances with the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Decca, 1984)
Favorite book on music: The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross
Most memorable concert: Mahler 6 with Semyon Bychkov and the Vienna Philharmonic
Instrument I would have chosen instead of the horn: either cello or bassoon
Most mundane classical music celebrity sighting: Esa-Pekka Salonen at an Ojai coffee shop
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Dr. Kevin McBrien is a Southern California-based musicologist, writer, editor, and speaker who is passionate about connecting others with classical music.
Kevin holds a PhD in musicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His dissertation—entitled “(Re)made in America: Émigrés, Identities, and Three Los Angeles Orchestras (1933–45)”—examines select moments of intersection between European émigré musicians and Los Angeles orchestras in the 1930s and 40s. Other research interests include American musical institutions, canonicity, concert culture, and public musicology/audience engagement practices. Alongside his academic studies, Kevin worked as both a TA and instructor for Music Appreciation (MUS 15) and Classical Music Live (MUS 1). He received his MA from UCSB in 2019.
In 2015, Kevin graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor’s degree in music history & literature. His senior thesis, completed under the supervision of Drs. Kristine Forney and Roger Hickman, examined Richard Addinsell’s score for Goodbye, Mr. Chips and related archival materials housed in the University’s MGM Collection. Kevin spent summer 2015 at the Music Division of the Library of Congress, organizing and archiving twentieth-century publicity photographs as part of the Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program.
For three summers (2018–19, 2021), Kevin worked as the Assistant Program Book Editor at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In this position, he edited program notes, artist bios, and other printed materials for dozens of events during the Festival’s season.
Kevin is an avid program note annotator, and his writings have appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and School, BBC Proms, Music Academy of the West, Salida Aspen Concerts, Tuesday Musical Association, and Trinity United Presbyterian Church. He also contributed liner notes for releases by Natasha Kislenko, Chavdar Parashkevov, and Sung Chang.
As a public speaker, Kevin has presented pre-concert talks at the Aspen Music Festival and School, South Coast Symphony, and UC Santa Barbara. Additionally, he has curated a classical music blog since 2017.
In performance, Kevin is a horn player, chorister, and occasional arm-waver (i.e., conductor). Besides attending numerous concerts and “nerding out” about classical music, he enjoys movies, cats, baking, Parks and Recreation, In N’ Out, long walks, and spending time with family and friends.
Soli Deo Gloria