Renowned flautist, saxophonist, composer and educator Erica von Kleist has been a performing artist and teacher worldwide for over two decades. A native of Connecticut, and Essentially Ellington alumna, Erica moved to New York to hone her skills at the Juilliard School, and in 2004 earned the first Bachelor’s degree in jazz in the school’s history. After graduation she launched her career as a sideman through touring, recording and performing with the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Chris Potter, Wynton Marsalis and the JLCO, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Bebo Valdez, Cachao, Celia Cruz, Kristin Chenoweth and Seth MacFarlane, among many others. She is the recipient of several honors, including the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award, and the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, and has been voted many times as a “Rising Star” and “Critic’s Pick” in Downbeat Magazine.
As an educator, Erica has taught privately for over 15 years. She has been a guest clinician at several schools and institutions including the Juilliard School, Stanford University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, University of Montana, and has done outreach work at the conservatories in Havana, Cuba.
Erica has released three albums as a bandleader – “Project E” in 2005, “Erica von Kleist & No Exceptions” in 2009 and “Alpine Clarity” in 2014 which she recorded in her new home of Whitefish, Montana. Since moving out west, Erica has been enjoying the serenity and inspiration of the mountains, and the quality of life that living in a small town provides. The business side of the music industry has always been a passion of Erica’s, and she recently started two companies aimed at providing employment for musicians based in the Flathead Valley. The Northwest Artist Syndicate and Groovetrail have booked hundreds of paid performances for talented local musicians since their inception, and are steadily growing. Erica is currently investing in her business projects, and tours regularly for performance and education work, while keeping a home base in big sky country.