Montana Public Radio

Can Do: How Erica von Kleist Helps Musicians Think Like Entrepreneurs

Apr 5, 2019

"Creating employment for musicians is one of my passions," says Erica von Kleist. In 2013, this New York City jazz player, arranger, composer, bandleader and teacher made a life-changing move to Whitefish, Montana. With a bang, Erica began creating opportunities for fellow musicians and music teachers, demonstrating first-hand how an artist can think like an entrepreneur.

On this week’s Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, von Kleist lays out her vision for a "biodome" of employment for musicians, and makes the case for teaching young artists how to synchronize their creative and entrepreneurial grooves to build lasting careers. Learn more now from Erica von Kleist.

Erica von Kleist.
Credit Cat Gebauer

In 2014, von Kleist launched a pair of booking and management companies: The Montana Artist Collective, and Groovetrail. These for-profit and non-profit sister companies book paid performances throughout Northwest Montana. Since their inception, the weddings, nursing home stints, jazz summer camps, private events, and school residencies booked by the two companies have created significant, ongoing revenue for musicians in northwest Montana. They’ve also brought live music to the people who can benefit from it the most.

Production support for this “Can Do” podcast comes from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, dedicated to investing in people to improve the quality of their lives. And from the Greater Montana Foundation, encouraging communication on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans. And from Blackfoot, providing communications solutions for Montana businesses. Plus opportunities like C2M Beta, an innovation lab aimed at helping startups thrive.