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Brian Choper (born Feb. 22, 1965 in Greenbelt, Maryland) is an American percussionist, band manager, and author. He has more than 30 years of experience playing both nationally and internationally, has been featured on nine CD's, authored an educational book on music management, and started his own entertainment management company, Washington's Entertainment Connection/Bigshot Records.
Choper manages and plays in five bands working in different genres, including jazz, rock, funk, klezmer and Israeli music. His groups include The Choper Jazz Project, The Jazz Connection, Nexus Rock Band, Kol Haruach Orchestra, New Klezmer Quintet, and TnL
From the early 1980s through the late 1990s, Choper was primarily known as a klezmer and rock drummer. By the mid 1990s Choper had emerged as an American drummer, and later as a band manager, business owner and consultant. By the late 1990s, he was working with many bands in genres including rock, funk, jazz and Latin. In 1983, he won first prize at the Vienna International Music Festival for classical timpani. He studied with notable teachers including George Huttlin, Marshall Maley and Buddy Rich. During the 1980s, Choper became the first drummer to play with the folk band Capital Klezmers.
In 1992, he was selected to participate in the International Music Festival in Safed, Israel, as part of the Machaya Klezmer Band. He produced and is featured on the band's second CD titled What a Machaya! that became a best-selling folk album in 1997, reaching number two on the Moment magazine folk chart.
Author and business leader
In 2002, Choper wrote the Entertainment Connection Career Guidebook, a manual for artists that outlines the steps for starting and managing a band and finding work as a professional musician. The book provides advice based on Choper’s years of experience as a performer, band manager, agent, consultant and business owner.
A year later, Choper founded Entertainment Connection, an artist management and booking firm where he could sign and manage artists and bands under his own wing. In 2005, the company became Washington's Entertainment Connection (WEC), a firm that not only manages and books artists and bands, but also coaches and develops them through his new label, Bigshot Records. The “Gigs For You” division advises artists and bands on how to find career opportunities.
In 2007, Choper expanded the Klezmer concept from the wedding and party scene to concert halls. To reach people of all ethnic backgrounds, he created a sister band to his original Kol Haruach Orchestra called the New Klezmer Quintet. The band regularly sells out major concert venues, performing traditional Klezmer music in its own style, while also presenting original, neo-Klezmer tunes that blend other musical genres, including rock, jazz and their most popular genre, bluegrass. This success led to the band performing for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural festivities in Washington, D.C., with performances simulcast on NPR.
Choper uses WEC's record label, Bigshot Records, to look for new and original musical talent to sign, develop and book on tour. The label's rock/pop/funk house band TnL blends (and is influenced by) rock, funk, blues, pop and other genres.
Recognizing the growing importance of video in the music business, Choper brainstormed for ways to help his artists and bands build a high quality video presence at an affordable cost. In 2013, Washington's Entertainment Connection and Bigshot Records joined forces with RPM Studios in Silver Spring, Md., to create a state-of-the-art video production studio featuring a custom stage, green screen, and advanced sound and lighting. Artists and bands can use the facilities to shoot videos for songs, interviews and live concerts.
Today, Brian Choper performs on tour and for special engagements including some USO shows; oversees with WEC and Bigshot Records productions; and works with both new and seasoned artists in the new video production studio. For more information, visit www.brianchoper.com.
1993- Machaya Klezmer Band; Machaya Klezmer Band
1996-What a Machaya; Machaya Klezmer Band
2002-Tap Your Feet to a Jewish Beat; Sally Heckelman
2004-An Evening For You; The Jazz Connection
2004-In the Beginning...Bereshit; The New Klezmer Quintet
2005-Kol Haruach-Live in Concert; Klezmer and Jazz-Together at Last; The Kol Haruach Klezmer Band
2008-"Unexpected Joy"-The New Klezmer Quintet-Live in Concert w/ Ramon Tasat; The New Klezmer Quintet