JESSE AYERS is winner of the 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Composition, co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet 'New Music for New Dance,' and a 2010 recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. His music has been performed in Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and over 100 U.S. cities. His music has twice been selected by the International Society for Contemporary Music to represent the United States at the prestigious World Music Days festival. Much of his music is scored for large, "surround-sound" forces and explores the intersection of the spiritual and natural worlds and the redemptive intervention of a very real God in the affairs of the human race.
But there is also a fun-loving side to the music of this split-personality composer, seen in pieces like Flashbax, Waldstein Express, Mountain River Escapades, and The Dancing King, music filled with energy, rhythmic syncopations, bright, cheerful harmonies, and which are meant to be just plain fun.
Dr. Ayers' other awards include an Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, 16 awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center, and Malone University's Distinguished Faculty Award. He has been a guest composer on university campuses in Iowa, Colorado, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Born in East Tennessee, Ayers began composing around age 14, and at 16 was invited by WJ Julian to conduct the University of Tennessee Band in Ayers' first work for band. Ayers earned the bachelor's and master's degrees in Music Composition from the University of Tennessee, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. Awards garnered by his former students include a Pulitzer Prize and a BMI-John Lennon Prize.