Conductor Asher Davison brings a varied background, musical and otherwise, to Winds Across the Bay. He was inducted into music by the Santa Monica public schools, after having chosen the clarinet somewhat randomly (though of course inspired by Prokofiev’s cat), a fortuitous choice given how deeply he would grow to appreciate the instrument’s repertoire. His private study with David Sasaki, which included the Bach cello suites in transcription, convinced him of the value of rhythmic sense as the source of expressive freedom. At Apple Hill in New Hampshire one formative summer, Asher was exposed to the profound possibilities of chamber music coaching by bassoonist John Steinmetz. In college at Yale, where he first learned to conduct under Yale Symphony director James Ross, he engaged intensively in music as a nonmajor, soloing on the Copland and Mozart concertos, studying clarinet under David Shifrin, and performing Schubert’s Das Hirt auf dem Felsen for the first of five times (so far). And as a graduate student in molecular biology at MIT, he recorded Peter Child’s Trio and deepened further into chamber music under John Harbison’s coaching of his own Variations and Mirabai Songs.
After teaching high school biology and chemistry, Asher returned to California to design classroom learning materials, a pursuit which would lead him into copyediting—which for him resonates with music, in terms of shared dialectics between structural coherence and strengthened artistic voice. Meanwhile, he has coached chamber music with Chamber Musicians of Northern California, played clarinet in numerous opera productions, and developed his bass voice as a second instrument (countertenor as his third). Director of the medieval chamber choir Coro Ciconia, Asher currently sings with the San Francisco Choral Artists, leads the bass section at the Unitarian Universalist Society of SF, and has recently studied with Karen Clark. He and his wife became first-time parents this past spring; their baby may not know what instrument he will choose, but he’s already singing.
In guiding the enthusiastic and talented youth of Winds Across the Bay, Asher looks forward to cultivating the use of the breath toward phrasing, differentiation of vowels toward intonation, and the joyous rewards of attentiveness to rhythmic integrity and interplay within a small conducted ensemble.
Student and Guest Conductors
Winds Across the Bay proudly features Student Conductors, Guest Conductors, and Guest Instructors for sectionals.
Summer Band Guest Conductor: Sasha Barish
Sasha Barish was Concert Master at Winds for more than three years and member of the Majors for almost five. At Winds, the Berkeley High Band, and Cazadero Music Camp, Sasha has mentored younger students and collaborated with peers throughout high school. He will be heading to Harvard College in August. He is excited to dig through the music library and find some wonderful music to perform. Please see the calendar for the dates and concert.
Past Conductor: Jamison Smeltz
Conductor Emeritus: Ray Iniguez
The conductor of the youth orchestra in El Cerrito