Music Director, USC Thornton Opera
Associate Professor of Practice
- Program:Vocal Arts and Opera
- Division:Classical Performance and Composition
Brent McMunn is conductor/music director of USC Thornton Opera and assistant professor of vocal arts. His professional operatic conducting debut was with the New York City Opera National Touring Company in La fille du regiment. Shortly after, he made his Lincoln Center debut with the New York City Opera in Les contes dÂ’Hoffmann, and subsequently conducted in four separate seasons for that company.
McMunn came to opera after an established career as a pianist, known especially for his collaborations with a number of eminent string players, including Lynn Harrell, Cynthia Phelps, and Ronald Copes, now of the Juilliard Quartet, appearing at the major Southern California venues as well as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Carnegie Hall. His work in and love for opera began when he joined Grant Gershon as one of two pianists at the Los Angeles Opera in its early days. Concurrently, he was made director of opera at California State University, Long Beach, where he began conducting and produced a wide repertory of operas.
After his New York conducting success, he went on to guest conduct at a number of North American companies, such as Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Lake George Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera New Jersey and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and spent several years as co-artistic director of the Ridgefield Opera Company in Connecticut. In addition to his conducting, his work as assistant and cover conductor at LA Opera, New York City Opera, and six seasons at the Santa Fe Opera, has given him a repertoire of over 70 operas, including those by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, the major Strauss operas, and a number of new works and premieres, with a special emphasis on the Bel Canto repertoire. He has continuously enjoyed working with young singers in the young artist programs of the major companies, as a coach at the Juilliard School, and as a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival.
- MM, USC Thornton School of Music, 1981
- BM, Eastman School of Music, 1979