1. Faculty

Ryan Brown

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Music History and Literature; Professional Development

Our Friend Adam Ryan Brown Our Friend Adam by Ryan Brown.

“nimble, expressive, ear-turning and strange in an accessible way” —Washington City Paper


  • Building Your Digital Presence
  • Avant-Rock
  • Great Artists Steal: Music of Igor Stravinsky
  • Minimalism


  • PhD, Princeton University
  • MM, Princeton University
  • MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • BM, California State University, Long Beach


  • Finalist, Gaudeamus Prize, 2009
  • ASCAP Young Composer Award, 2008
  • Gerbode-Hewlett Emerging Composer Award, 2007

What is your hometown?

San Dimas, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Literature, design, and history.

Who were your major teachers?

Steven Mackey, Dmitri Tymoczko, and Dan Becker.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal."
—Stravinsky/Picasso/T.S. Eliot

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“What does a career in music look like to, and for, me?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Hearing Steve Reich's Sextet in a freshman music appreciation course.

What was a turning point in your career?

Producing the first Switchboard Music Festival.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Something utilizing functional design — architecture, industrial design, etc.

If you could listen to only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Steve Reich, David Lang, and David Bowie.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

New York City, 1975

What recordings can we hear you on?

Pinched, Splinter Reeds
Four Pieces for Solo Piano, New Amsterdam
The Light By Which She May Have Ascended, New Amsterdam
Under the Rug, New Amsterdam
KNEE GAS (ON), Sqwonk