Welcome to the official website of
Composer Anita Brown and
Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra
Please browse MUSIC for new clips, and click MUSIC LESSONS if you're looking for a teacher, and click CHARTS for a listing of Anita's available compositions & arrangements and STORE for ABJO t-shirts, t-shirt dresses, mugs and other merchandise.
A MAJOR FUNDRAISING EVENT is underway to campaign to record my most significant works of the past 20 years. In the world of independent musicians, the larger the ensemble, the more expensive the path to fruition. Rehearsal time, rehearsal space and recording studio time for 21-26 musicians to rehearse and record 14 titles adds up to $200,000. In comparing the 2003 price tag of $65,000 to record/release 7 tracks with 19 musicians, the aforementioned 2022 cost seems a bargain. It has been 19 years since my debut and only CD, 27 EAST, was released due to the daunting process of securing funding. That project was my first independent release, financed by my settlement for debilitating personal injuries that occurred at sea, 35 miles due east of Cape May, NJ. I have no plans for a reprise of that experience!
Won’t you please join my Team of Patrons for American Cultural Development in support of this major recording project? Thank you for your time, consideration and support of my artistic endeavors.
What are you planning to record and why now? The quick answer is I’m planning to record several of my unrecorded original works now because the only CD I’ve produced was released in 2003, and I’m not getting any younger, much to my dismay. The experience of brain surgery one year ago was also a rude awakening that the time is now!
Here are more details: In 2011 I produced the premiere of a large-scale programmatic work in five movements commemorating and depicting the American experience of living through 9/11. Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra remains unrecorded to date due to a plethora of obstacles since its premiere. In 2019 and in 2022 I was granted NYSCA (NY State Council on the Arts) Individual Artist Composer Commissions to compose Hart Island Suite (fiscal sponsor The Hart Island Project) and Red Moon Rising (fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas) respectively.
Premiered in August 2021, Hart Island Suite tells a poignant family story from my mother’s burdened perspective of having birthed a stillborn daughter one year my senior. I sought to shift the public’s negative impression of Hart Island to one of beauty and serenity that this tiny island in the Bronx, NY offers the one million souls who rest there. In its finale it offers a joyous New Orleans-style jazz funeral for my sister and extends its embrace to all who rest with her and those Americans who were denied the funeral ritual during COVID-19. This suite and Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra (both 35 minutes in length) were composed For The People with the intention of acknowledging our collective grief and in both instances offering an uplifting, healing finale.
My 2022 NYSCA commission, Red Moon Rising will also be recorded—when I finish composing it— along with additional unrecorded works entitled Remembrance, Quagmire, Elegia, Prelude & Transfiguration, Sabia’ (my arrangement of a seldom-heard Jobim tune) and Santa’s On His Way, to be released as a seasonal single track.
Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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In late 2021 I was awarded a 2022 NYSCA Individual Artist Composer Commission (fiscal sponsorship through Fractured Atlas) for a new piece inspired by a most amazing and unworldly sight in the blackness of midnight at Montauk Point, Montauk NY. The following is from my 2022 NYSCA grant application:
"In my music journals I have two sparse pages of sketch material from a moment of wonder I experienced at the lighthouse in Montauk, NY. While alone in in the dark I suddenly saw a strange scarlet light interfering with the horizon as I looked north. It had the shape of a small triangle. I was a bit alarmed as this seemed other-worldly. However, I was riveted to this sight. It became more pronounced with each passing minute and seemed to increase in height, but I had no experiential reference to understand what I was looking at. I was filled with wonder and a bit of fear. As it got taller it resembled the sail of a sailboat. I was confused. Suddenly, I noticed the left side of this triangular light was curved… “It’s the MOON!” I shouted aloud. It took my breath away. I watched as it rose completely to reveal something less than a half moon crescent, maintaining its deep scarlet color against the black sky, unaffected by the lighthouse’s arms. I was compelled to remain until it was reasonably high in the sky and began to lighten in hue. When I returned to my hotel room I hurriedly wrote down some musical ideas in my sketchbook. They consist of clusters of notes, additively increasing in numbers of notes and rising in pitch level. There is a melodic fragment but not a melody. The concept is that the clusters are mimicking the rising of the scarlet triangular light.
This feeling of wonder came from all of my paradigms being broken; my expectations of how the moon looks when rising. Despite decades living on the beach in my youth, my understanding of the phenomenon of the moon “rising” had been turned upside down.
With this project I would like to use those sketches entitled Red Moon Rising as a point of departure to break my own habit of creating a melody first and defining harmonic content secondarily. I would like to research, investigate and experiment with tone clusters to revisit my feelings of wonder and utilize this concept as an integral aspect of this work."
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On August 26, 2021 I was able to premiere my 2019 NYSCA (NY State Council on the Arts) Individual Artist Composer Commission, fiscal sponsorship through The Hart Island Project) Hart Island Suite. Composed as a three-movement work for Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, I. Mother's Story tells the poignant family story of my mother's first and stillborn daughter from her burdened perspective. II. Terra Incognita is my orchestral snapshot of Hart Island, NYC's potters field, or public cemetery. The movement reveals a col, foreboding place, as described by the general public. The movement morphs to tell the truth of the beauty and serenity of this neglected tiny island in the Long Island Sound in an effort to change the public and my mother's perception that it was a "terrible place." The finale, III. Julie's Second Line, offers a joyous, celebratory New Orleans-style Second Line Funeral for my posthumously named older sister, in the interest of finally providing her the funeral ritual and extending its embrace to all one million souls who rest with her on Hart Island, in addition to all who succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic and were denied a funeral due to quarantine protocols. More information at #hartislandsuite on facebook & twitter.
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Through Fractured Atlas individuals and corporations can become a patron of Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist:
If you would like to contribute to financing the premiere production of Hart Island Suite through Fractured Atlas, every little bit helps and your contribution is deeply appreciated.
Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist must be made payable to "Fractured Atlas" only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Click here to make a tax-deductible donation by credit card. Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist
If you prefer, you may donate by check. Please make checks payable to Fractured Atlas. Please write Project: Anita Brown, Composer/Teaching Artist in the memo. Checks made payable to any other payee will be returned to its sender. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my mailing address.
For check donations over $1000, please download the Major Gift Letter pdf file and send it in with your donation. Thank you for your support!
Previous Endeavors partially supported through Fractured Atlas:
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In 2012-13 I composed a piece as a result of having been selected for the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute's (JCOI) Intensive workshop (Part 1) at UCLA in August, and earned a subsequent invitation to make application for their 2013 EarShot Readings workshop (Part 2). Disarming The Tempest is a symphonic poem illuminating the plight of returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD. In AB form, its disjointed A section represents the tempest within, while the lyrical B section offers the inner peace they long for. Disarming The Tempest was composed for symphony orchestra. It was premiered by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Buffalo, NY on April 23rd & 24th. My deepest gratitude to all the Marines who shared personal thoughts with me as I forged this work. ~AB "[Explosions leave] a sense of disillusion for that split second. The world stops. Then hell kisses you in the mouth again." --Brandon Weatherford, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, United States Marine Corps
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The World Premiere of Anita's original large-scale work commemorating the American experience surrounding our national tragedy of 9/11.
Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra premiered September 10, 2011. It was a great success due, in part, to the generous contributions to so many folks who donated financially through Fractured Atlas, and many who gave their time. The Honorable Harriet D. Cornell, Chairwoman of The Rockland County Legislature bestowed upon me a Legislative Proclamation, lauding "Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra" for the unique manner in which it honored the American experience of our national tragedy on 9/11, its victims, victims' families, first responders and all who answered the call to arms in response. A letter of thanks from General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of The United States Marine Corps was also received in October. To view videos, photos, these documents and more, please visit www.standsymphony.com.
STAND: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra was premiered in Nyack's Memorial Park, Saturday September 10, 2011, for The People.
The creative process requires time to think about the intention of the work, its message, structure and initial ideas. It requires time to take musical dictation from ideas so fleeting and elusive that you have to be still in silence to allow them to surface. Once they “arrive” in “sketch” form, the task of selecting musical colors requires time to engage the imagination in finding the right combinations of instruments and layers of sound, to say nothing of the planning of a piece’s structure and development.
For centuries, artists have had patrons who support their creative efforts. An organization called Fractured Atlas afforded me this opportunity through an extension of their non-profit status and resources for grant applications. With an important, time-sensitive project on the slate, I was able to secure Fiscal Sponsorship status with Fractured Atlas in January 2011. This premiere was executed to commemorate the American experience of September 11, 2001 on the occasion of its tenth anniversary later this year. It is entitled Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra and has its own website: www.standsymphony.com.
Thank you for your interest and support. Please visit anita's blog on this website and the blog at www.standsymphony.com. --AB
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Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra: 27 EAST is available at CDbaby.com or on the PRODUCTS page.
Anita Brown is an award-winning composer, conductor and producer whose passion for music derives from being raised by parents who met while studying with renowned jazz pianist Lennie Tristano. Her early career yielded extensive experience in K-12 school music programs. In 1995 an inevitable epiphany prompted her eight-year Fellowship in the prestigious BMI Jazz Composers Workshop under the tutelage of Manny Albam, Jim McNeely and Mike Abene. During this time she established herself as a trusted producer, copyist and assistant for a number of arrangers in rehearsals, recording sessions and live events.
Recruited as Band Copyist for The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s original charter as a 501(c)(3) organization, she began restoring the deteriorating parts in Thad Jones’ hand while also serving as ink copyist to Don Sebesky, Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Manny Albam, McCoy Tyner, Jason Robert Brown, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and others. She cultivated apprentice relationships with Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely and Manny Albam providing library, editing, rehearsal and score assistant services and worked for The Estate of Gil Evans cataloguing his works for appraisal. Her comprehensive work as Supervising Librarian for The Estate of Manny Albam to catalogue his life’s works is permanently archived and accessible at Rutgers Institute for Jazz Studies.
Brown assisted with production for such acclaimed recordings as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s Lickety Split: The Music of Jim McNeely; Maria Schneider Orchestra’s Days of Wine And Roses: Live at The Jazz Standard and Allegresse; The Don Sebesky Orchestra’s John Pizzarelli Meets The Beatles, Rhythm Is My Business and Our Love Is Here To Stay; Loren Schoenberg’s Out Of This World and Dave Pietro’s Standard Wonder and Embrace, and assisted with live production facets of the memorial concerts for Grover Mitchell and John Stubblefield.
As Executive Producer she was responsible for the Birdland CD Release Party for Group Therapy: The Jim McNeely Tentet, The Memorial Concert for Manny Albam, the premiere of her large-scale composition/performance art Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra featuring The USMC Silent Drill Platoon precision drill team of Washington, DC, commemorating and depicting the American experience of our National tragedy on 9/11 for its tenth anniversary, the production of live performances of her music in metropolitan New York since 1997 and of her debut CD, Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra: 27 EAST.
“Disarming charts...reveal myriad details of subtle wit and flexible spirit...using brass with the acumen and majesty of Johnny Richards...and wave-like riffs that break into Mingus-like backbeat.” --Fred Bouchard, DownBeat Magazine
Anita’s music has earned international acclaim, been honored with an ASCAP Award for New Big Band Music awarded by a panel of renowned composers Bob Brookmeyer, Dave Douglas and John Clayton for The Lighthouse, a Legislative Proclamation bestowed publicly by The Rockland County Legislature and a letter of recognition from The Commandant of the United States Marine Corps for Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra. As a participant in American Composers Orchestras’ Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute: Intensive Workshops & Readings, Brown was invited to compose and premiere a piece with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Recently she was awarded a 2019 NYSCA Individual Artist Composer Commission for Hart Island Suite. Tied to NYC history through a poignant family story, rehearsals for this piece were set to begin in mid March 2020 but were postponed due to the pandemic. Anita has also been commissioned by The Count Basie, Jon Faddis and Westchester Jazz Orchestras, The Center for Jazz Composition, The Frank Wess Nonet, vocalists Nnenna Freelon, Judi Silvano, Mala Waldron, Bobby Short and has premiered original works with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra under her baton.
Anita has presented clinics and performances at the IAJE Annual Conference, The New York Brass Conference, New Jersey Music Educators Association Conference, USF Center for Jazz Composition, United States Military Academy at West Point and colleges nationwide. She has also enjoyed working with colleges and professional ensembles as a guest conductor.
Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra has been performing in metropolitan New York since 2000 and was recently listed among Rising Star Big Bands in the DownBeat Critics Poll. Anita is grateful to have had the opportunity to present performances with guest artists including her father, Ted Brown, the late Frank Wess, vocalist Judy Niemack and guitarist Jeanfrançois Prins.
Ms. Brown has had articles published in professional journals, served on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College, New Jersey City University, Bergen Community College, is currently a Fiscally-Sponsored Artist with Fractured Atlas, a member of the Teaching Artist Roster with ArtsWestchester, White Plains, NY, and Lecturer of Jazz Studies at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music.
“I’ve known Anita for a long time and she’s developed into an important writer.” --Lee Konitz, NEA Jazz Master
As a certified, veteran music educator, Ms. Brown's educational materials have been designed to help foster strong foundations and good habits for young musicians both in school music programs and private study. With a long-time focus on beginners, Anita has become a specialist in starting young students on the piano and most bands instruments. She has had great success starting children as young as four at the piano.
With her extensive experience as a band director to children of all ages she has become expert at starting children with good posture, breathing and embouchure formation, often bringing her students through middle school and into high school.
As a result of her work with so many children over the years Brown was inspired to create The Music Student's Companion. This consumable workbook is a management system designed to assist private teachers and parents in supporting students' progress by providing a central place for assignments, logging practice time, learning about the figures in musical notation, drawing characters and eventually leads young and novice students through the process of composition. More information can be found on the PRODUCTS page.
The Composer Residency Project is an original curriculum designed to work in conjunction with secondary school instrumental music programs. It was successfully piloted with two middle school bands in White Plains, NY with great excitement. A simplified edition subtitled Let's Compose! is geared toward elementary school recorder/flutophone classes.
Visit the Photo Gallery see some photos of a residency at an elementary school in New Jersey. Both editions offer optional lessons which may be implemented prior to or following the scheduled residency period. In addition to the obvious goal of composing new music, these programs also offer the teacher optional lesson plans in active listening (a.k.a., listening while engaging the imagination), the concepts relating to intellectual property and copyright law.
Other clinics Ms. Brown offers include "What Does A Composer Do?" during which she introduces young people to her creative process and illustrates the difference between a tune and an orchestrated work through listening and viewing her works. Content is age-appropriate and can be tailored to the needs of a specific program. In secondary schools discussion includes the importance of finding and following one's own passion.
At the college level Brown offers clinics specific to composition, arranging and the creative process as pertains to aspiring composer/conductors. Performance clinics are offered at all levels:
Ms. Brown is accepting commissions for various ensemble configurations of all levels and encourages interested parties to reach out for more information.
Thank you for visiting this web site. Please check back often for new news! --AB