New Strings Faculty Member Hired

The College of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Brown.

Kevin Brown, shown here performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra April 2, 2016, joins the MSU College of Music string faculty for the Fall 2017 semester as assistant professor of double bass.

An accomplished bassist with an equal passion for teaching and performing will join the Michigan State University faculty beginning August 2017. The appointment of Kevin Brown as an assistant professor of double bass further solidifies the position of the College of Music String Area to deliver the highest standards of excellence in musical education and performance.

“Kevin stands out for his brilliant musicianship. He is able to capture everyone's attention with his very first note,” says Professor of Cello Suren Bagratuni, chair of the String Area. “His incredible sensitivity to whatever he or students are playing shows he is an intelligent, extremely knowledgeable player and teacher. Our faculty is looking forward to collaborating with him, as well as to the wonderful students he will attract and recruit in the future.”

Brown's international experience as an orchestral and chamber musician is an ideal fit for an area devoted to training a new generation of performers, scholars and music educators. His studies with renowned pedagogues, his work with esteemed orchestras, and his success in competitive venues have made him a sought after bassist in performance and education circles.

“Over the past 22 years, the College of Music bass studio has developed a reputation for excellence under the guidance of Professor Jack Budrow, a nationally respected and highly distinguished bass performer and pedagogue,” says Dean James Forger. “With the appointment of Kevin Brown, we are confident this tradition will continue to grow in a number of important dimensions. Kevin brings a new generation of leadership to MSU — he possesses the  highest performance standards as well as a passion and talent for teaching.”

Brown began playing the double bass at age 3 and went on to earn his bachelor's and master's degree from Rice University. He has performed and toured with the Houston Symphony, and earned opportunities to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. His interest in Baroque music led him to pursue study of historical performance practice in Italy and abroad. Brown has taught master classes and coaches ensembles in a range of educational settings. He is currently principal bassist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Brown says he was impressed by the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the College of Music, and as a native of Minnesota, says he felt immediately at home on the Midwestern campus. He was excited to hear of the College's exceptional student-focused curriculum that fosters both performance and educational opportunities.

“I'm looking forward to having steady contact with students and shaping their progress,” says Brown. “I like to listen and find out what students want, what they feel their priorities are, so they can build their own trajectory to success rather than following a mold.”

A large pool of applicants was reviewed for the double bass faculty position after an extensive national search. Search committee members included a cross-disciplinary committee of faculty from the College of Music. Chaired by Bagratuni, the committee included faculty members Dmitri Berlinsky, Yuri Gandelsman, Rodney Whitaker and Kevin Noe.

About Kevin Brown

Minnesota native Kevin Brown began playing the double bass at age 3. He has since gone on to perform with esteemed ensembles across the United States and Europe, in a burgeoning career that has led him back home to the Midwest as principal bassist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and newly appointed Assistant Professor of Double Bass at the Michigan State University College of Music. 

Brown began his collegiate studies with Peter Lloyd at the University of Minnesota, but ultimately completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Rice University as a student of renowned pedagogue Paul Ellison. Upon completing his degrees he went on to work with David Moore at the University of Southern California before joining the DSO in 2014. 

While a student, Brown performed extensively with the Houston Symphony, and joined them on tours to New York and Moscow. In 2009 he won the International Society of Bassists Orchestral Competition, which earned him a week in the bass section of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 2011 he was selected to give a solo performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage as part of their Conservatory Project. Before his appointment to the DSO, Brown also appeared as guest principal bass of the Atlanta Symphony.

Beyond orchestral performance, he is an active soloist and chamber musician. He is a member of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and performs regularly in the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. He is also a frequent recitalist, and gave his solo concerto debut with the DSO in 2015. A keen interest in Baroque music led Brown to pursue study of historical performance practice at the Accademia di Musica Antica in Brunico, Italy. He also studied at the International Summer School of Early Music in Valitice, Czech Republic, and with private tutors in Vienna, Austria.

As an educator, Brown has taught master classes as at the Colburn School, Rice University, the University of Southern California, Texas Christian University, and the 2016 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference. He has coached numerous ensembles at programs such as the Houston Youth Symphonies, Troy High School String Camp, Farmington Day for Strings, Michigan Bass Bash, and East Michigan BassFest. Brown also has presented lectures at the 2016 SAA Conference, and the 2015 International Society of Bassists Convention.

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