College Faculty: Center for Career Readiness & Community Impact
Multi-instrumentalist and comedian Erica von Kleist has led many lives as a musician and producer, leading the charge as woodwind specialist, pianist, writer, and educator. After receiving the first jazz bachelor’s degree in the history of the Juilliard School, Erica went on to tour and record with Sean Jones, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, spent time on Broadway in the pits of The Addams Family, A Chorus Line, and Gypsy, and recorded on five Grammy-nominated recordings.
As a bandleader Erica has released five albums, most recently Sax & Taps with DeWitt Fleming Jr, live at Dizzy’s Club. In 2012, Erica relocated from NYC to the big sky state of Montana where she started several business initiatives and discovered her songwriting and comedy abilities.
During the #MeToo movement, Erica reminisced on her experiences as the only female in countless professional situations in jazz, and began writing songs about the struggles that women face. Her songs snowballed into a musical comedy show she now tours with, in addition to a full staged musical.
In 2020, Erica joined forces with several writers and editors in Montana to co-write Your Musical is Cancelled. The Musical! which went on to win Best Feature at the SoCal Film Awards and Best Comedy at the Toronto Alternative Film Festival, and was an official selection for the New York Independent Film Festival.
As an educator, Erica has been a guest artist at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, UNC Greensboro, Purdue University among many others, and a mentor for Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz program and Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2019, she published A Cool Approach to Jazz Theory, a workbook curriculum for beginning improvisers.
As a producer and entrepreneur, Erica has been at the helm of her company Pursuance Productions and has booked and produced hundreds of private and public performances for various artists. Currently her company is helping support and promote her many projects.
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