Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “musical ace,” keyboardist/composer Carl Byron records and performs with a wide range of artists and ensembles as an in-demand sideman, session musician, arranger and music director. He has toured internationally, collaborates as a composer with dance and theater groups, and is a founding member of the acclaimed gypsy jazz ensemble, the Hot Club of Los Angeles.
His credits as sideman (piano/organ/accordion/other keyboards) include work with artists such as Anne McCue, Michelle Shocked, Jim Lauderdale, Michaela Paige, Spencer Davis Group, Shane Alexander, the Young Dubliners, Fran Banish, Kara Grainger and Michael Anderson among many others; and with renowned producers including Dusty Wakeman, David Baerwald, Ed Tree, Drew Sherrod, Eric Corne, Peter Case, Ira Ingber, Rich McCulley, Kevin Jarvis and Moris Tepper.
Born in Lebanon, and raised in Cambodia, Congo, Mozambique, Turkey and the US, Byron studied composition with esteemed Cuban-American composer Aurelio de la Vega at California State University, Northridge (CSUN.)
His contemporary classical scores include String Quartet for the Elkhorn Music Festival; Trilogy for soprano Janet Williams; Birds of Sorrow, commissioned for the AIDS Quilt Songbook; Arabesques for the California Trio; Musica Festiva for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony; Sola for award-winning violist Karen Elaine; Colloquy for the California EAR Unit; Fragments for soprano Shana Blake Hill; and the electro-acoustic score for Residue, visual artist Steve DeGroodt’s installation at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Byron performed his 2016 solo piano piece Ghazal at California State University, Northridge on a program celebrating the 90th birthday of his mentor, Aurelio de la Vega
Of Byron’s compositions, the New York Amsterdam News wrote: “His is a first-rate talent. Here is a composer who combines intellect with a loving heart.” The San Francisco Chronicle hailed Birds of Sorrow as “a dramatic metaphor;” and the Village View praised Byron’s “deft, harmonically ambitious work, a special treat throughout.”
As a performing arts writer, Byron has written features, profiles, reviews and program notes for Opera News, KUSC Listener’s Guide, Los Angeles Reader, Boulevards, Latin American Music Review, High Performance, Virgin Los Angeles City Guide and other publications. Byron also produced broadcast arts reports and program notes for KUSC (91.5 FM) and also wrote and hosted in-flight music programs for Delta Airlines.