Kristi Brown-Montesano, PhD
Insights Host

Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano approaches graduate seminars, adult-education classes, podcasts,  and pre-concert lectures with the same philosophy: that offering context—rigorously researched, provocative, and humanistic—empowers listeners and musicians to make their own meaningful connections to classical music. Currently Chair of Music History at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music and a Lecturer in Musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Dr. Brown-Montesano also has ongoing relationships with many of Southern California’s most distinguished musical organizations, including the Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Jolla Music Society, and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

A respected opera scholar, Brown-Montesano broke new critical ground with her book Understanding the Women of Mozart’s Operas (University of California Press, 2007),  re-evaluating source materials as well as common reception assumptions about the female roles in the Da Ponte operas and The Magic Flute. The book’s feminist lens has attracted a growing audience of readers interested in the ethics of opera culture and production, prompting a new paperback edition in 2021. Dr. 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” seminars.

While opera holds a special place in her scholarly work, Brown-Montesano has presented and published essays on a wide variety of topics including the use of classical concert music in film, music’s role in the original Sherlock Holmes stories and later adaptations, and popular reception of J.S. Bach in postwar America from Glenn Gould to the Golden Record to Hannibal Lecter. For more information, visit