Ashi Day

Ashi Day is a composer and educator working in Washington, DC, interested in exploring unconventional intersections between music and theater, using the voice as a compositional tool, rethinking roles for women in opera, and creating meaningful works for all ability levels and ages. She also writes a lot of songs about animals.

Ashi creates vocally driven works created as much for the experience of the performers as the listeners. By incorporating comedy and playing with familiar tonalities in many of her works, she hopes to explore notions of “serious” new music and to play with ideas of genre. Ashi’s 10-minute mono-opera, “For Whom the Dog Tolls,” for soprano, piano, duck call, and whistle, about a day in the life of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, delighted audiences at Opera from Scratch in Halifax, NS, District New Music Coalition’s New Music DC in Washington, DC, and New Music on the Bayou’s virtual Summer Veiller, and will be performed at the International Alliance for Women in Music’s 2020 Annual Concert (rescheduled to April, 2021). This piece was written to give sopranos a rare chance to play a character that is joyful and victorious at every turn. Her commissions for the adventurous clarinet and soprano duo, Whistling Hens, include a 15-minute mini-play, “The Green Child,” retelling a legend of a mysterious green girl found in the dark forest by featuring both the singer and the instrumentalist as characters. Her art song, “Open Your Mouth,” sets Proverbs 31:8-9, calling out the similarities in the language of social justice work and the bible. The piece won calls for scores for Juventas New Music Ensemble’s “Freedom of Speech” and Calliope’s Call’s “Songs of Unity” concerts.

Ashi won third prize in the Sewanee Church Conference’s FYFE Choral Composition Competition for “Even So, Lord, Quickly Come” and first prize in the New York Treble Singers Composition Competition for “The Dove Pursues the Griffin” for 8-part treble choir, improvised piano, and internal piano strings. She has also won additional calls for scores with Denison TUTTI, University of North Georgia’s Research on Contemporary Composition conference, the Music by Women Festival, and the Women Composer’s Festival of Hartford. Ashi was a festival composer with the inaugural NEO Voice Festival, co-creating a collaborative oratorio on the origins of creativity with eight other composers. She has been commissioned by Whistling Hens, PERI Trio, Connecticut Yankee Chorale, Anthology vocal quartet, and Cantate Chamber Singers, as well as by individual singers and church choirs. Additionally, her pieces have been performed by vocal ensembles such as Metropolitan Master Chorale of Los Angeles, Artifice, Ensemble Lyrae, and Senza Nome, as well as by church choirs and singers in private, student, and faculty recitals. In theater, she collaborated with artists of various disciplines to co-create “Narrative the Build We” for Cultural DC’s Source Festival and “Being Moss” as part of “I Thought the Earth Remembered Me” with banished? productions for the Capital Fringe Festival.

Ashi earned a B.M. and M.M. in Composition respectively from Bucknell University and Westminster Choir College. Composition teachers include William Duckworth, Jackson Hill, Stefan Young, and Joel Phillips. Equally dedicated to education, Ashi was a teacher in public and charter schools for half a decade, working in both music and general elementary education, all the while studying improv theater and classical voice for fun. She then earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she was named an Urban Scholars Fellow for her work in arts education. She now works in arts education administration, creating opportunities for people of all ages to experience, explore, learn through, and train in music and opera. As a soprano, she is a professional church musician and a member of DC’s new composer/conductor collaborative ensemble, Artifice.

Ashi has been named a DC Arts and Humanities Fellow for 2021 alongside artists of all mediums “whose artistic excellence significantly contributes to the District of Columbia as a world class cultural capital.”

There are no productions for this artist in the Season Schedule of Performances which currently only dates back to 1991.

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