Kurtis Brownell



Competition Winner

Born: February 27, 1908 (Winnertka, Illinois)

Died: October 20, 1935 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Kurtis Brownell, tenor, sang in a choir in Chicago as a child, where he was a student of Herman Devries. In 1926, he was awarded the first of a series of five consecutive fellowships at the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Francis Rogers. He later attended the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau with Estaze Thomas-Salignac.

In 1931, he was one of four winners of the Naumburg competition (that year there were 233 participants in the competition). As a winner, he made his debut on January 26, 1932 in NY's Town Hall, performing a program of songs and arias from Handel to Coean.

He traveled throughout the US as a member of the New York Opera Comic trouope as well as a concert performer on the tours of the National Music League. In the spring of 1935, he replaced Richard Crookes (due to illness) in the third act of Wagner's "The Nuremberg Mastersingers" presented on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in the anniversary concert for the 50th anniversary celebrating Walter Damrosch.

Excerpt from NY Times review, January 27, 1932

Kurtis Brownell, Tenor, Heard

"Kurtis Brownell, tenor, one of the winners of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation prize of a debut recital, appeared in Town Hall. ... Mr. Brownell has a light, lyric voice, which he uses pleasingly. His program was devoted to songs in Italian, German, French and English, and he sang these with intelligence. He was at his best when he did not force his voice: this was particularly true in Hugo Wolf's "Auch kleine Dinge," ... A large audience received warmly the long program that represented Haydn, Handel, Sarti, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Wolf, Grieg, Masenet, Tosti, Faure, Quilter, Rubinstein, Dunhill, Raff and Cowen." H.T.


1931 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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