Brian Choper is a Musician, Band Manager, Executive Producer and business owner. He is an internationally renowned drummer/percussionist with over 35 years of performance experience with various bands that range from his own original music band called Mulberry Street, to major national and international touring groups. The types of bands and orchestras Brian has performed with include folk, Klezmer, Jazz, funk, rock & roll, pop, blues and symphonic music. He is noted for his unique technical ability and flexibility, where he can either support and accompany other players as a backup artist, or take the lead as an original solo artist.
Brian founded the project Gigs For Good. He is also owner of the BigShot Records Label, WEC, and Authority Records (Rap & Hip Hop Record Label). All companies are music divisions under The Mulberry Music Group, of which Brian is a Founding Member. Brian is recently the founder and CEO of The Mulberry Music Musician’s Network (also referred to as Mulberry Music), a business – business membership network where musicians can join to access major discounts on many of the key products and services all musician’s need to succeed in this complex business we call the “music business”. This is a benefit program Brian has just recently started after many musician’s pleaded with him for access to the same benefits he had negotiated for the bands represented through the Mulberry Music Label. Learn more.
How Brian Got Started:
When Brian was just 3 years old he started playing the violin. He played for 3 years and decided that it was not the instrument for him. When Brian was 9 he tagged along with his older brother to a junior high school dance. The school band was playing. After watching the band’s drummer all evening, he knew what instrument he wanted to play: the drums, and within three weeks, against the wishes of his parents, began playing them, never looking back. In 1983, he graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt MD (an Award winning music school) at the top of his music class. He went on to earn degrees in music and business. His talents were developed by studying with some truly gifted drummers and percussionists, including George Huttlin starting in 1974, Marshall Maley, and including three years with the late Buddy Rich from 1983-1985.
During the next 10 years Brian gained experience by freelancing with many well-known bands and orchestras, including the Prince George’s Philharmonic and folk bands throughout the world. He became the 1st drummer to play with the Capital Klezmers and then joined the Machaya Klezmer Band. In 1997, he joined the Nexus Rock Band, a classic rock & roll band that toured, playing both festivals and concert halls.
It was in about 1995 when he also became interested in promoting bands and artists. He experimented by promoting the bands he performed with. The assumption was the busier those bands became the further the opportunity he would have to perform with them, and he found great success in doing this. As it turned out, he learned that the quality of the band did not necessarily represent how often they played, but if you had a truly great band and the word got out, they’d be playing all the time. As a result, many of the bands he promoted became nationally known. He also found he enjoyed working them, as he was able to perform more while meeting other promoters, wheelers and dealers.
Washington’s Entertainment Connection:
Taking this to the next level, in 2003 he founded Entertainment Connection, a music agency/artist consultancy…a place where he could sign and manage artists and bands, under his own wing. Two years later, that company became what is known today as Washington’s Entertainment Connection, or “WEC” for short. WEC not only manages musicians and bands, it coaches artists and signs them with his label, Big Shot Records. In tandem with this success, Brian started “Gigs For You”, an artist coaching wing division of the company that coaches and advises musicians, and their bands on how to find work.
Gigs For You:
“Gigs for You”, is a non-profit organization established by Brian that teaches the business of music. Through this mentoring program, serious musicians can call for assistance on the business side of entertainment. Brian works the coaching in-between his performance schedule. He specifically provides career advice, networking support, and assists musicians and other entertainers towards their career goals.
Gigs For Good:
In 2012, the Gigs for You program was extended and Brian created Gigs for Good, a new platform for artists to give back to the community by using music as a fundraising tool. Gigs for Good has raised thousands of dollars for good causes.
Gigs for Good is a social enterprise, a for-profit entity organized to combine music and market principles to create social good. The purpose behind this project is to bring the performance arts to communities in ways that can impact the life of communities for the good. More specifically, the program brings both local professional and renowned stage artists together to perform in settings where they normally would not look to perform, such as in poor or underprivileged neighborhoods, to introduce new cultures, bring communities together, galvanize action, teach and inspire children and raise funds.
In 2002 Brian wrote “Entertainment Connection Career Guidebook, Volume 1“. This book outlines the major steps artists should take to start their career, manage a band, and find work as professional artists. Through the book, he shares his experiences as a performer, band manager, agent, and consultant.
Discography/Big Shot Records
Unexpected Joy – The New Klezmer Ensemble – Live in Concert with Ramon Tasat; The New Klezmer Ensemble (2008)
Kol Haruach – Live in Concert Klezmer and Jazz – Together at Last; The Kol Haruach Klezmer Band (2005)
In the Beginning…Bereshit – The New Klezmer Quintet (2004)
An Evening for You; The Jazz Connection (2004)
Tap Your Feet to a Jewish Beat; Sally Heckelman (2002)
What a Machaya; Machaya Klezmer Band (1996)
Machaya Klezmer Band; Machaya Klezmer Band (1993)