While it takes some musicians a bit of time to discover their instrument of choice, Principal Clarinet Asher Carlson never had a doubt. Asher’s grandmother was an orchestral clarinetist who gave Asher his own clarinet and taught him to play. “I couldn’t see myself playing anything else,” said Asher. “It’s become as natural to me as my own voice.”
Asher grew up in the small town of Leland, MI, before moving with his family to Sarasota and he graduated from Riverview High School. He played clarinet throughout school and went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Florida State University and a Master’s Degree in Music Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Asher owns many types of clarinets and has played most of them with the Symphony. He even played a piccolo solo on the recent production of The Nutcracker on his e-flat clarinet. Asher’s clarinets have taken him around the United States and the world, playing with symphonies, chamber ensembles and more. He is also Principal Bass Clarinet with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra.
Like many Venice Symphony musicians, Asher is also a dedicated and accomplished teacher. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, State College of Florida, Florida College, and Saint Leo University, and also teaches at the Interlochen Clarinet Institute at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Saarburg Festival in Germany. Asher is an active new music collaborator and has commissioned dozens of new solo and chamber works for clarinet and bass clarinet.
You might not know that Asher is also a talented vocalist. He was a member of the award-winning a cappella group Reverb and currently sings with the internationally recognized Heralds of Harmony barbershop chorus in Tampa, as their bass section leader, and with the award-winning barbershop quartet Smash Hit! also on bass. “It’s another hobby that I’m trying not to turn into a career,” he said.
Asher said the concert he is most looking forward to is the Movie Maestro: A Tribute to John Williams in February. “I love movie music. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Asher who will be featured on a piece from the 2004 film The Terminal.
And if he wasn’t busy enough, Asher is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education at the University of South Florida. You can learn more about Asher Carlson and hear some of his arrangements at www.asherclarinet.com