Byron Asher

Artistic Flint & Steel: Sparking Cross-disciplinary Combustion
Type of work

Byron Asher composed Skrontch Music, a major piece of music for clarinet and large ensemble that explores and is in service to the New Orleanian Creole traditions of clarinet virtuosity and Black radicalism in the Jim Crow era. His writing process was aided by deep research, including an oral history project of collaborative design with faculty partner, Sharlene Sinegal DeCuir, which documented the experiences of the older generation of New Orleans clarinetists still performing today. The piece was performed at our annual FORESTival, the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, and Xavier University, where it was followed by a panel discussion featuring Sharlene, Kidd Jordan, Tim Turner, and Benjamin Morris.

Byron Asher plays the clarinet and the saxophone in New Orleans. Raised in Maryland, he has performed across Europe and the US. As a composer, his works have been heard on festival stages and have accompanied theatre and film. Byron completed an M.M. in Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, and he can be seen regularly performing in New Orleans with the Smoking Time Jazz Club and Los Poboycitos, among many other groups. He is one-third of Nutria, a trio dedicated to original instrumental music, named in honor of the swamp rat.

“What a great privilege it is to be here for this short period of time, far enough away from home to get serious work done, but close enough to know where I am and why it is such a crucial institution for New Orleans and its artistic community.”- Byron Asher

“Working with the Flint Steel Residency series was an eye-opening and fulfilling experience. My collaboration with Byron produced an amazing project that we were both very proud of.” – Sharlene Sinegal-DeCuir