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Monica Ashton Productions: Bio

 

Monica Ashton is a Music Producer, Composer, Arranger and pianist. Her company, Monica Ashton Productions was formed in 2007 to promote Ms. Ashton’s many talents and musical endeavors.  In the Fall of 2012, Ms. Ashton's Production Co. became incorporated as an LLC. In addition to her many musical talents, Ms. Ashton has a background in music management and law as well.  This background, as eclectic as it may seem, is actually well-suited for a production company, as is evidenced below. 

She is originally from New York.  She has been writing and performing music since she was 3.  At 14, she was certified to teach the Robert Pace Piano Teaching Method.   At 15, she obtained college credit for piano performance. She earned her undergraduate degree in Music Performance at Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York.  She also took graduate courses at SUNY Purchase in Songwriting and Composition after completing her degree.  In 1981, she worked at Columbia Artists Management, Inc. (CAMI) in New York City doing Publicity and Management for such artists as The Chieftains, The Canadian Brass, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, and the Scots Guards and the Black Watch Bands, to name a few.  In 1984, she decided to switch to music education and became the Assistant Director of the Shumiatcher School of Music in Larchmont, NY.  She did fundraising and publicity there, as well as taught piano.

In 1986 Ms. Ashton took a completely different turn. She decided to pursue a legal career. Tired of the low-paying salaries in the Classical Music world, she decided to become a legal secretary while playing in a New Wave band on the weekends.  This led to her entering law school in 1989. She earned a J.D. from New York Law School in 1994 and pursued a career in Intellectual Property Law.  While attending law school, Ms. Ashton wrote a paper entitled, “The Substantial Similarity Inquiry, An Alternative to the Current Tests Used in Music Copyright Infringement Cases.”  She won First Prize in the Nathan Burkan National Copyright Competition. The article was subsequently published in theLicensing Journal.

After several years working in various areas of the law, including criminal, civil, government and intellectual property law, Ms. Ashton became increasingly dissatisfied with the legal profession.  The salaries were okay, but her heart was definitely not in it. (She also contracted the Epstein Barr virus during this period.)  She was able to keep going with her music by performing periodically in the Village at the Sidewalk Café and other similar venues “on the side.”  She also produced a demo CD in SoHo in 2001. But her legal jobs were always so demanding, she didn’t have the energy to do more music.

In 2002, after having lived through September 11th in NYC, she decided to move to California to pursue her musical career full-time. While living in Northern California, she worked in several different bands, including a Celtic Band based in Sacramento, a Country-Jazz Duo, VanAsh, with Hank Van Buren, a Bluegrass band, Autumn and the Fall Guys, and subsequently started her own band, Lenny & the Lizards.  She also became certified to teach piano in California. She worked at the New Mozart School in Palo Alto for 2 years, then opened her own private studio in Palo Alto. She also accompanied students at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and became Assistant Organist at the Greek Orthodox Ascension Cathedral in Oakland, California. 

In 2006, Ms. Ashton formed the Monica Ashton Jazz Band and began to prepare for a recording of some of her own jazz compositions. She was lucky enough to assemble an incredible band and record her album at the Skywalker Studios in Marin County at the famed Skywalker Ranch.  The CD was then mastered at Capitol Records in May 2007.  Her debut album, The Monica Ashton Jazz Band, came out in early October 2007.  (You can purchase her CD here, on PayPal, under the drop down "Buy".)

In addition to the CD, Ms. Ashton has written many works, including a Mass, a Song Cycle, Chamber pieces, Classical Songs, a Musical, jazz pieces, instrumental pieces for films and web series, to name a few.  She has had formal premieres of her works in New York at the St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan, Katonah, NY, and Staten Island, NY.  In California, she has performed many of her works extensively throughout the Bay Area. 

Having moved to LA in 2008, Monica set up shop in Pasadena and pursued a composition career in addition to running her production company there in her own Studio.   While in LA, she composed a Musical entitled, "Banjos & Bugles" which is being considered for showcases in NY, a web series Trailer for Jacquie Bowe, she worked on several projects as a producer for other recording artists, including Siggi Jung. She occasionally performed at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood for Karen Hart, Fun Night Live Showcase at the Spot in Culver City, CA for Marcie and Eddie Ed O'Brien, put together various fundraisers and could be heard occasionally at LA jazz clubs on the West Side and in Hollywood.

In July 2012, Ms. Ashton traveled to London and played a Solo Showcase at Jazz After Dark in SoHo to great acclaim. She hopes to return to Europe soon to perform more there, and also to try to get her full band to tour throughout Europe, since she has a following there.

In October 2012, Ms. Ashton moved to Northern Arizona for a variety of reasons and is happily returning to more collaborative efforts with other musicians, including Musical Theatre, teaching piano, theory and composition to students, accompanying students and adults, playing with other jazz performers, choirs and instrumentalists, and of course, continuing to write music! In September 2012, she was the Music Director for a production of Promises, Promises at the Prescott Center for the Arts, and currently is the Director of the Prescott Center for the Arts Youth Singers.

If you'd like to contact Monica, you can reach her at: monicaashton@gmail.com, 213-613-1149 (phone or text), and/or follow her blog at www.monicaashtonproductions.wordpress.com.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you will take a look around the website for more information on Monica, her music and her company.