(Some of my) favorite composers: John Adams, Stravinsky, Bach, Caroline Shaw, Ravel, Arvo Pärt, Britten, Jennifer Higdon, Shostakovich
Three desert island pieces: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Bach’s Cantata BWV 150, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (OK, four: John Adams’s Naive and Sentimental Music)
Favorite orchestra: tie between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic
Most impactful concert: Mahler 6 with Semyon Bychkov and the Vienna Philharmonic
Bucket-list concert item: David Del Tredici’s Final Alice
Music writer I admire: Alex Ross
Instrument I would have chosen instead of the horn: cello or bassoon
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 the intersections between European émigré composers and Los Angeles orchestras in the 1930s and 40s. Other interests include: public musicology, concert culture and programming (particularly in regards to new music and composer diversity), and American musical theater. Alongside his academic studies, Kevin has worked as both TA and instructor for the Music Appreciation 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 two summers (2018, 2019), 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, Salida Aspen Concerts, Tuesday Musical Association, Music Academy of the West, 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 for 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.
© 2017-21, Kevin McBrien. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin McBrien with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.