David Ashton

From Wind Repertory Project
David Ashton


David Ashton Kjar (b. 1986, Boise, Idaho) is a New York-based multi-woodwind performer, improviser, and composer.

David was raised in a musical family in a suburb of Salt Lake City. His grandmother taught him piano with a very compositional approach, and in seventh grade he began to play clarinet, flute, and then saxophone. After studying with Kathy Pope, professor of clarinet at University of Utah, David was discovered by Dr. Ray Smith, a local legend and woodwind/jazz pedagogue at Brigham Young University. Under his tutelage David began to discover his potential as an improviser and composer, and he later earned his bachelor's degree in music education. David is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in classical clarinet at Mason Gross School of the Arts, and a graduate of the Jazz Saxophone Master's Program at Manhattan School of Music where he studied with many jazz greats including Donny McCaslin, Rich Perry, Steve Wilson, Dave Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Garry Dial, John Riley and Peter Eldrige.

Although not formally trained as a composer, David’s love of jazz improvisation, and his familiarity with many instruments has naturally led him into the area of composition. His catalogue of compositions includes several pieces of chamber music, many original jazz tunes and arrangements for large and small jazz ensembles, many religious instrumental, vocal and choral pieces and arrangements, and now one piece for wind band.

David is an orchestral level performer on flutes, oboe, English horn, clarinets and saxophones. He is a regular in pit orchestras (including Aladdin and Froen on Broadway), and in small and large jazz ensembles. David has performed in New York City at Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, The Shrine, The Cell, Somethin' Jazz Club, the Actor's Temple, as well as internationally at the Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Kongsberg, and Villard De Lans Jazz festivals.

Both in 2009 and 2010 David won first place woodwind player at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Festival, and was also the recipient of the 1st place Jazz Clarinetist award at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in 2003.

As an educator David currently teaches woodwinds and aural skills at Rutgers University. In the past he has worked as an adjunct saxophone teacher at Brigham Young University, and in the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, the Distance Learning Program at Manhattan School of Music, and was also the band director at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, and New Heights Academy Charter Schools in New York City.

Works for Winds