Jenni Asher is a multi-instrumentalist who fuses free improvisation and collaborative composition in folk, jazz, and soul. She is a co-founder and violinist of the Yellow Bird String Quartet. While her main instrument is violin, she also sings, plays viola, erhu, and piano.
Her latest album a spoken word poetry and improvised music project with poets Jacob Sam-la Rose, Toni Stuart, and Jessica Wilson. The musical journey that will take place listening to this piece of work will be a smooth one, allowing the listener to easily feel the direction that the poem is going in, and never distracting from the words. The album was released October 1, 2017.
Jenni resides in North Hollywood, California with her Egyptian-Jewish husband, Aaron and whippet/jack russell puppy, River. At a very early age, Jenni was introduced to classical concerts by a full orchestra, and at four years old she began playing violin. She and her mother attended lessons together for six months - her mother carrying a full-size violin and Jenni with a child's violin, thus owing her success as a violinist to the early educational journey that her mother set in place. At six, Jenni began the Suzuki method, working through the first book in less than a year and by age thirteen she had completed all ten of the books, being able to play Mozart concertos and advanced chamber music with her friends. She was a student at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music in its earliest days.
In her third year of college at the Royal Academy of Music, Jenni was taking ten classes, an unheard-of number for most students in her position (four classes was considered a full week). She also chose Jazz Voice as a second study (the equivalent of an American academic minor,) and took lessons from Tina May, Kathleen Willison, and Judy Niemack. This led to being part of the amazing London Vocal Project (LVP) led by Pete Churchill and their album release “Mirrors” in 2013 with Kenny Wheeler and Norma Winstone.
Jenni also acquired her master's degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. There she focused on her free improvisation skills, played for Contact Improv classes, and explored her grapheme synaesthesia with pianist and fellow aural synaesthete Leina Okada. Their collaborative compositions are featured on Jenni's 2014 album “London.” Here is a video demonstrating their use of grapheme synaesthesia Color and Music.
Jenni’s time in California has been spent achieving significant accomplishments, some personal and professional. One of these includes converting to conservative Judaism at the American Jewish University. She is involved in teaching at Adat Ari El and the Waldorf City School. Many of her students have performed at The Colburn School of Music. She is also a massage (Myofascial Release) therapist and proud owner of Musician Bodywork, founded to help injured musicians find relief from their pain and play professionally.
Jenni is strongly invested in partnering with other artists professionally. She's never happier than when collaborating, especially when improvising with fellow musicians. She has recorded at the legendary United Recording Studios on Sunset Boulevard several times. Some of her more momentous performances took place at the Wilshire Ebell, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and Barnum Hall in Santa Monica. During 2015 she was the Pasadena Century Books Artist-In-Residence. Her freelance experience has been with both orchestra and small ensembles such as the Dream Orchestra, LA Musicians Collective, Pacific Opera Project, and YMF Debut Orchestra. In addition, she has had the pleasure of performing overseas in London at the Royal Albert Hall as a London Vocal Project, in the orchestra and the choir and at the Westminster Abbey accompanying the Campkin Singers. She can be found on albums by Of Mercia - "Ep," Helen Burnett – "When I First Saw You There," and Billy Joseph - "Ride On The Mystery."
Written by Felicia Matthews