Jesse Ayers (born in Knoxville, TN, in 1951) 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 MacDowell Fellowhip. 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. His other awards include an Individual Creativity Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, 16 awards from ASCAP, and grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center. His music has been performed in Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, and over 100 U.S. cities. 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. Since 1997, he has taught at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, where he has received the school's Distinguished Faculty Award.
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.
"Jericho is by far the most imaginative, unusual and successful work I have ever performed in 33 years of conducting here at Concordia University. Last night [in Little Rock], almost the entire audience was in tears after Jericho. The host was so choked up she couldn't talk to the audience. She was speechless and crying in front of the entire audience." —Dr. Richard Fischer, Concordia University Chicago
"Even without the Biblical elements, Dr. Ayers’ works are wonderful. But with the addition of the spiritual element, each piece has even deeper meaning and feeling. All of the works are extremely well-crafted by a composer who really knows and respects the concert band."
—Dr. Jeffrey Doebler, Valparaiso University, Past-president, Indiana Music Education Association
Works for Winds
- and they gathered on Mount Carmel (1995)
- Fanfare for Christmas Morning (1995)
- Fanfare for Christmas Morning (Brass) (1995)
- Fire of the Living God, The (1995)
- Incantations of the Prophets of Baal, The (1995)
- Jericho (2005)
- Magical Mystical Rain Forest, The (1991)
- Prayer of Elijah, The (1995)
- Rachel Weeping for Her Children September 11 2001 (2002)
- Susanna and the Elders (1978)
- Veni Emmanuel (1997)