Staff Portrait: Mason Kinkead

Friday, Mar 02, 2018
Juilliard Journal

Administrative Associate, Community Engagement

A singer and tennis player in his spare time, at Juilliard Mason Kinkead is the point person for general information about community programs and fellowship opportunities for students. Among his responsibilities are being one of the primary facilitators for the Music Advancement Program—a Saturday musical instruction program for students ages 8–17 from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in classical music—and the program manager for CLIMB, an academic and arts program for MAP students’ younger siblings. Born in Rhode Island, Kinkead grew up outside Boston and attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts before getting his bachelor’s in vocal performance from McGill University. After graduation he worked as a tennis instructor on the Upper East Side and then at a start-up employment law firm as its paralegal and firm administrator.

How was your first day at Juilliard?
I began working part-time as an over-hire house captain in the concert office for Juilliard performances and eventually I worked my way up to my current position. What I remember about my first day of full-time employment, in January 2016, was feeling blissful, humbled, and a bit nervous. But I quickly got to know my wonderful team and other colleagues, which alleviated any nerves I’d been experiencing.

What’s been one of your favorite days here so far?
Convocation—I love the energy around the school at that time and the feeling of starting fresh.

Tell us about a memorable experience with one of the students you work with.
Last year, a parent told me about how her child had made leaps and bounds personally as a result of CLIMB, the program for younger siblings of MAP students. He had started off the year shy, awkward, and not doing so well in school, but through CLIMB he began to express himself without fear of judgment and made some friends along the way. This story touched me as I had been one of those kids who had difficulty making friends and was pushed to the side. Being able to make a difference in the lives of underrepresented children and families in the classical music world brings me a great deal of joy, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it!

What do you like to sing?
I’m an operatic baritone, and my dream roles include the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Fritz in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt. Pierrot’s Tanzlied (“Mein Sehnen”) from Act II of Die tote Stadt is very much my go-to humming song. I also like to sing pop, jazz, and R&B.

If, out of the blue, your boss gave you a day off, what would you do with your free time?
Probably sleep in a bit, go to the gym, play video games, and grab a drink with some friends.

What are you reading/watching/listening to/following? I’m currently in the middle of reading Dan Brown’s Inferno, and I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy (for the first time!), The Good Doctor, South Park, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. And as of late, I’ve been listening to the new Sam Smith album, The Thrill of It All.

What do you always get asked?
People often ask me what my ethnicity is as I’m mixed race and my features are a bit ambiguous—I’m West African, French, British, and Irish.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
In general, I’m a pretty open book, but people might not know that I’ve never had a cavity.

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