Main content

Anita Brown

Lecturer, Jazz Studies

It is a great honor to have been asked to join the faculty of such accomplished musicians in The Jazz Department of The Conservatory of Music.  As a composer/arranger I hope to ignite a creative spark for aspiring musicians to explore the written medium of jazz arranging. 

I look forward to demystifying the creative process through examining works of master arrangers, decision-making practices and introducing proper Music Preparation as an important tool for self-expression.

More About Me

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.

Most recently Brown was awarded 2020 Project Grants from New Music USA, NYFA and 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 several 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 a Fiscally-Sponsored Artist with Fractured Atlas and a member of the Teaching Artist Roster with ArtsWestchester in White Plains.

“I’ve known Anita for a long time and she’s developed into an important writer.” –Lee Konitz, NEA Jazz Master

Research Interests

Composing music for a variety of ensemble configurations

Performing & Recording original works

Developing a hands-on Jazz Composers Workshop

Collaborating with dance organizations

Production of live artistic performances  

Publication of original works

Representative Courses

Jazz Harmony

Advanced Jazz Arranging I & II

Publications

Sparking Imaginations for The Next Wave, Published in Allegro, journal of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802 (NYC), 2018. https://www.local802afm.org/allegro/articles/sparking-imaginations-for-the-next-wave-of-musicians/

The Leading Edge, Bi-monthly column published in JazzEd Magazine: Survey of lead players’ roles in big band jazz via interviews with well-established, contemporary NYC big band/jazz orchestra lead players, 2010. 

What Was This Arranger Thinking? , New York Brass Conference Magazine, Charles Colin Music Publications, NY, NY,  2005.

27 EAST, Lasheda Records: Executive Producer, Composer, Conductor, Contractor, Liner Notes, CD Design; Independently Recorded & Released, 2003:  Track 1. Wake Up!  2. The Lighthouse. 3. Alexander’s Lullaby Waltz. 4. Shifting Tides of Montauk. 5. The Touch of You. 6. Add Venom, Shake Well. 7. 27 EAST.

PERSONNEL LISTING - Reeds: Dave Pietro, Todd Bashore, Tom Christensen, Jason Rigby, Ed Xiques; Trumpets: Jon Owens, Evan Barker, Scott Harrell, Greg Gisbert, Nick Marchione; French horn: Theresa MacDonnell; Trombones: Mark Patterson, Pete McGuinness, Bruce Eidem, Mike Christianson, Jeff Nelson; Pno: Mike Holober; Bs: Maryann McSweeney; Dr: Tim Horner, Lee Finkelstein. Production Assistance: Jim McNeely, Ben Kono; Recording Engineer: James Farber; Clinton Recording Studios, NYC.

• “She has swallowed and legitimately incorporated her influences and sounds only like herself.”            –Larry Kart, Author of Jazz In Search of Itself

• “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

 

The Composer Residency Project/Let’s Compose! Age-appropriate curricula in music composition, grades 3-12, Self-Published and Piloted, 2003.

13 Original Tunes by Anita Brown, Prepared for C, Bb & Eb players, Anita Brown Publishing, 2003.

The Music Students’ Companion, Consumable management workbook for the novice student of music, Self-Published & Piloted,  2002

Presentations / Conferences

Importance & Effects of Studying Music:  Presentations for building & districtwide arts faculty; MVCSD, Mt. Vernon, NY, 2015 .

The Creative Process: Developing Motivic Unity, presentation for students of Las Vegas Academy for the Arts, UNLV and CCSN; Community College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, 2007.

Parameters & Options in Big Band Writing:  Clinician, IAJE Conference, NYC, 2007.

Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra: Performing Ensemble, IAJE Conference, NYC, 2007.

Adjudicator:  First International Michael Brecker Arrangers’ Competition, Center for Jazz Composition (now ISJAC), USF Tampa, 2007.

Parameters & Options in Big Band Writing: Clinician, Center for Jazz Composition (now ISJAC): Jazz Composers’ Symposium, USF Tampa, 2006.

The Creative Process:  Weekly workshops for Staff Arranger of The Jazz Knights, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 2006. 

NJMEA Conference Panelist: “An Adjudicator’s Perspective,” 2004.

Supervising Librarian & Archivist for renowned arranger Manny Albam: cataloguing and preparing his life’s works for donation to the permanent archives at Rutgers Institute for Jazz Studies, Newark, NJ, 2003.

Exhibitions / Performances

Stand: A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra: Premiere production of original performance art/musical composition, commemorating and depicting the American experience of our National tragedy on 9/11, premiered for the tenth anniversary on 9/10/11, Nyack Memorial Park, Nyack, NY, by Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, featuring The United States Marine Corps  Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks, Washington, DC,  representing  all  first  responders in this five-movement piece (2011):     I. The Homeland;   II. Tuesday Morning;   III. Benumbed;   IV. Valor;   V. Stand  www.standsymphony.com

John Stubblefield Memorial Concert, Live production assistance & Premiere of family-commissioned work: Elegia, St. Peter’s Church, NYC; 2005.

Group Therapy Producer of CD Release Party, Jim McNeely Tentet at Birdland; Event contracting & live production, 2002

Manny Albam Memorial Concert, Executive Producer: Featuring: Bob Brookmeyer as MC & artist, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Jim Hall, Jon Faddis, Frank Wess, Jerry Dodgion, Gerry Niewood, Ed Xiques, Mike Abene, Nancy Marano and myself; Responsible for music/artist selection, programming, contracting, rehearsals, music preparation, staging, stage direction, widow’s wishes, rehearsal of Manny’s big band titles in live performance at The Village Vanguard with The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Monday nights under my baton, October - November; St. Peter’s Church, NYC, 2001.

Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra, Executive Producer, Conductor of LIVE performances, Metro NYC since 2000.

BTW Orchestra, Co-Producer of debut performance of new works for jazz orchestra by composers Anita Brown, Penelope Tobin & Deborah Weisz, St. Peter’s Church, 1997.