David Batt, a former finance director for the City of South Pasadena, passed away on October 25, 2018. He was 64.
Not only did Batt work for the City of South Pasadena, but he was recognized for his musical sounds and standout performances at the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival in the spring.
He was known to many music lovers, near and far, as Yrsan Daro. But how did David grow up to become the mysterious musician Yrsan?
Batt was born in South Dakota, but moved to New England with his family at the age of 3. His mother was an opera singer, concert violinist, and actress while his father was a clarinetist. Not surprisingly, Batt’s siblings were very artistic as well. In fact, everyone in his family had at least some involvement in theater, acting, or singing, although he became the only child to professionally work in music. Growing up, his family house was especially full of records: particularly classical, folk, and soundtrack albums. By the time he was 14, Batt had already been taking piano lessons for more than a decade.
Batt always felt that music and theater would be important aspects of his life. Nevertheless, when he was young, he planned a career in medicine or the sciences. After obtaining a degree in Psychology and completing a year of graduate work in the neurosciences, David skipped out on the Ph.D. program, deciding he wanted to do something different with his life.
Over the years, Batt played in jazz, rock, and blues bands. During the late 70s he also composed, performed, and directed music for many theatrical productions in San Diego. He recorded three CDs under the name Yrsan Daro and two EPs under his birth name.
Yrsan Daro’s first CD, “Dreams of Wind and Water” is an album of solo piano improvisations, while the follow-up “Beyond the Edge of Time” employed a full orchestral palette, and percussion, synthesizers, and ethnic instruments. The latter was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in the 2006 NAR Lifestyle Music Awards. Batt’s third CD “Screenplay,” released in 2007, contains some jazz rock fusion cuts and even a blues tune
All three Yrsan Daro CDs are available commercially, and they can be checked out from the South Pasadena Library collection. They’re also available for purchase as digital downloads, as are his two EPs of David Batt blues improvisations. The Batt EPs were partially recorded during the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival in 2012 and 2013 during the Library Carnegie Stage concerts.
Batt lived in Monrovia prior to his death and previously resided in Carlsbad, Anaheim, and Bradbury.