Alumni Focus: Brandon Kempf
Performance Studies offers endless opportunities and possibilities for the students who choose it as a major, minor, or for graduate study. A passion for the arts flows throughout this department, into virtually everyone who takes part. One of the many inspiring artists who impacted and was impacted by it is Brandon Kempf, who graduated with his Master of Arts in Performance Studies in the Spring of 2019. He describes Performance Studies as “more than academia... It begs you to be aware of your surroundings and be conscious of what is going on, creating a different lens to view life.”
After finishing a BA in Milwaukee, Brandon was introduced to the Performance Studies program at Texas A&M by happenstance. He was a bit unsure of what Performance Studies actually was until he arrived in College Station, but as soon as he took the leap and immersed himself in the program, he grew as an academic and an artist. Kempf cites a special connection with the Performance Studies professors, especially his thesis advisor, Kim Kattari, who nurtured his growth in both musical performance and academics.
He continues to use the knowledge he acquired in the department in both his career and in everyday life. Currently, he is the music director of the School of Rock in College Station. School of Rock is a performance-based music educational program, where Brandon is inspired to keep finding “revolutionary ways for kids and new musicians to learn and also connect with [music] in a performative way.” He aims to transform his students from “learning the scales and chords” to understanding the history of the music and relating personally to their musical pieces, which creates a deeper appreciation of their own artistic journey. Kempf believes that “for kids, [this approach] broadens the scope for all aspects of performance.”
Brandon Kempf inspires a younger generation of artists with a positive outlook and creative mindset that he first began to nurture in A&M’s Department of Performance Studies. He believes that this approach contributes to the creation of a sustainable community of artists. He challenges others to find their passion and let that be their driving force.