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 listen to: Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances with Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra (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
Lamest claim to fame: almost held a door open for Renée Fleming at the Aspen Music Festival
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Kevin McBrien is a Southern California-based musicologist, writer, editor, and speaker who has a passion for connecting others with classical music.
Kevin is a PhD candidate in musicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he received his Master’s degree in spring 2019. He is currently working on a dissertation that explores intersections between European émigré composers and Los Angeles orchestras in the 1930s and 40s. Other interests include: twentieth- and twenty-first century music, concert culture history, and public musicology/audience engagement. Alongside his academic studies, Kevin has worked as both TA and instructor for the Music Appreciation (MUS 15) course at UC Santa Barbara.
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, 21), 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 Chavdar Parashkevov, Natasha Kislenko (Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler: Works for Violin and Piano, 2018), and Sung Chang (forthcoming).
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), and has appeared at venues throughout Southern California. Besides attending concerts and “nerding out” about classical music, he also enjoys movies, cats, baking, Parks and Recreation, In N’ Out, long walks, and quality time with family and friends.
Soli Deo Gloria