About 3 decades ago I began to pay my musicians. Having grown up in communal band collectives, where we were all-for-one-one-for-all, I felt betrayed at first. (Paying my 9-piece band DADADAH in the ‘90s was like carrying a 2nd apartment.) Now I was the boss, not one of the band.
But I came to realize that what I was paying was respect. Respect for years of training, respect for the willingness to give meaning, heart and expression to notes on a page, respect for devotion to the practice of art in the face of an economic system that undervalues the necessity of art in human life.
I knew I could never pay what my musicians deserved, but I could pay something. And I was well rewarded. In return I’ve been given: loyalty, dependability, generosity in bringing to bear their own charisma, experience and talent, on my personal creative vision.
So if you choose to support a project, please donate to Fractured Atlas, a non-profit .org that allows your donation to become tax-deductible (yay).
The button with the colorful 8-pointed star will take you to my “Individual Artist Career Development” page.
Individual artist career development
is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas,
a non-profit arts service organization.
Contributions for the charitable purposes of
individual artist career development
must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only
and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
3 active Kitty Brazelton projects
you could become part of
Essential Prayers has embarked on a campaign to play house concerts, in the city and within a few hours drive—upstate NY, western MA, Vermont and Maine where we’ve had invitations—as well as Austin TX, Chicago IL, Seattle WA and Florida. Here’s a list of costs you can help with:
$10 - snacks at one rehearsal
$25 - one hour of one singer at rehearsal
$62.50 - one singer at one rehearsal
$60-$90 - one meal for band on the road
$200 - gas and tolls to upstate NY, VT or western MA for 2 cars = transportation to house concerts we hope to play in those areas
$200 - one night motel stay for whole band
$300 - gas and tolls for 2 cars to Maine
$375 - all singers, one rehearsal
$500 - retainer for booking agent
$900 - all singers, one concert
$1350-$1500 - airfares to Chicago IL or Austin TX, etc.
Your help does not have to come in the form of cash. Donations can be “in-kind” and Fractured Atlas will still offer you tax-deductibility.
host a house concert—invite us to sing for your friends and spread our music into more ears and minds
put us up while we’re doing a house concert in your area
feed us? yum.
Or please use your imagination—any help at all would be long remembered and greatly appreciated…
The Planes of Your Location, an evening-length concert of my recent chamber music that centers around Los Angeles-based Isaura String Quartet, debuts March 7 at ArtShare in downtown Los Angeles. Shortly after the concert we will record in Los Angeles, unless I get a grant from the New York City Women’s Fund to record in NYC. I’ve flown out to work with the musicians twice, first in January and then in July when we video’d what you’re seeing. I’m grateful to my employer Bennington College for a faculty grant that paid for my NYC-LA travel, meals and accommodations. I financed the video and audio recordings, and one of the musicians in the project graciously offered her home as a place to make the recordings. So I have been very fortunate.
2020 expenses are substantial:
$300 concert and rehearsal audio documentation
$400 for venue rental
$1100 piano rental
$1200 x 2, two trips to Los Angeles for me—one may be covered by a faculty grant
$1500 concert and rehearsal video documentation
$4000 recording studio with engineer and 3 piano tunings
$6600 for musicians fees, performance and recording
possible travel to NYC for 8 LA musicians, but only if I get the grant
The Art of Memory is perhaps my most ambitious project to date. And the most expensive. So expensive that I’ve been feeling like I can’t move forward, even a little, until I raise some money.
But I’ve been blessed from ArtMem’s birth in fall 2012. Avant Music Fest commissioned and programmed what we thought would be a song cycle for AMF co-curator Megan Schubert to sing. When it blew up into a proto-opera with Megan as St. Augustine, I had the funds to hire and pay the 7-musician orchestra. And AMF video’d and audio-recorded the performance for me. I hired a 2nd camera and video editor myself, but most of the tech budget was paid for me.
The demo video we made from the footage attracted interest from the now-defunct Lincoln Center Festival and American Opera Projects. The latter helped me write a grant application for Opera America’s program Opera Grants for Female Composers, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and one of the most committed foundation heads I’ve ever met—Alex Sanger.
I was awarded $14000 in 2015 and was able to rehearse my now 13-strong ensemble—5 singers and 8 instrumentalists—and again video and audio record late 2015 into early 2016. What a privilege and opportunity.
I’m still editing the crop that effort produced. Act I is about 3x too long. And all the glamorous interest has waned—as it often does when your project is in that ugly duckling stage.
My aim is to edit the heck out of Act I. Then put the 13-tet back together and road-test what we have. Video and audio-record again of course. And from there decide where Act II should go. My problem is that I have too many ideas for Act II. Just as I did for Act I. I need to edit—streamline the piece—until it’s lean and mean.
In the medium of opera there is no room for fluff or circuitous plots, material or orchestration. It’s so expensive to mount you don’t get more than one shot. And I’ve seen many of those circuitous and confused baby operas.
But the streamline & road-test of Act I will be equivalent to the 2015-16 effort—I will need to come up with more than $15000. I’ve applied for several grants and no luck.
Recently I got an idea after watching the videos over and over. What if I just work with Megan and develop the character, musical and verbal, from her voice and presence. That I figure will be around ±$300. And Megan has been exceedingly generous contributing her time and thoughts to this project. So I’m feeling less discouraged. And hoping to move forward very soon.