This is a video/piano recording of the accompaniment of "Open Your Mouth", by Ashi Day. Recorded by Blair Salter using an electric keyboard. "Open Your Mouth" is an art song that gently draws similarities between social justice work and religious beliefs. The text, which echoes the language of modern-day social justice movements, is entirely drawn from biblical quotes (mostly Proverbs 31:8-9). The piece has won calls for scores with Calliope's Call and Juventas New Music Ensemble.
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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 frequently incorporating comedy and versions of familiar tonalities, 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, 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 setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s stone cold break-up poem, “Thursday,” and a 15-minute mini-play, “The Green Child,” which retells a legend of a mysterious green girl and features both the singer and the instrumentalist as characters.
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.” She 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, the Women Composer’s Festival of Hartford, and the International Alliance for Women in Music. Ashi was a festival composer with Opera from Scratch and the NEO Voice Festival. 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”.
Ashi studied composition at Bucknell and Westminster Choir College and Arts in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as an Urban Scholars Fellow. Equally dedicated to education, Ashi was a teacher for half a decade and 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 works as a church musician, sings with DC’s composer/conductor collaborative, Artifice, and is generally handy for Christmas caroling and road trip round-singing.
Canadian collaborative pianist Blair Salter is a versatile performer and music director who has worked at prestigious opera companies and young artist programs throughout the United States and Canada. A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Young Artist Program, Wolf Trap Opera, and the Glimmerglass Festival, Blair is currently based in Houston and is a member of the music staff at Santa Fe Opera. She has worked on staff at Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Michigan Opera Theatre, and the CoOPERAtive Program. Blair is an advocate of art song and contemporary music; she has worked on several operatic world premieres including The Phoenix, El Milagro del Recuerdo, and The Thirteenth Child. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano at the University of Michigan, where she studied with Martin Katz. Previously, she attended the University of Western Ontario for her Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and Master of Music degree in collaborative piano, studying with John Hess and Stéphan Sylvestre.
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