Jesse Ayers (b. 1951, Knoxville, Tenn.) is an American composer and educator.
Dr. Ayers began composing around age 14, and at age 16 was invited by the late W.J. Julian to conduct the University of Tennessee Band in his first work for band. Ayers holds 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. His teachers include David Van Vactor, Donald Neuen, and John Anthony Lennon. Ayers holds the rank of Professor of Music Emeritus from Malone University, where he was twice awarded the school's Distinguished Faculty Award.
Jesse Ayers was the first winner of the American Prize for Orchestral Composition in 2011, and one of the first five composers named "Honored Artists" of the American Prize in 2014. He is a 2014 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award, winner of the 2013 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award, co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet “New Music for New Dance" competition, and a 2010 recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship. In January 2020 the Ohio Arts Council announced that Ayers had been named the recipient of the Governor's Award for an Individual Artist for 2020. Dr. Ayers' other awards include grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center, and two Distinguished Faculty Awards from Malone University. 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.
Recent commissions include those from the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the Ohio Private Colleges Instrumental Conductors Association, the Wisconsin Lutheran National Honors Band, and Milligan College. His music has been performed in more than 100 U.S. cities and eight foreign countries, and has been selected on two occasions by the International Society for Contemporary Music to represent the United States at the prestigious World Music Days festival. He is best known for his orchestral and symphonic band surround-sound concert stories that explore the intersection of the spiritual and natural worlds and the redemptive intervention of God in the affairs of the human race.
But there is also fun-loving music such as Private Eye Prowl, Flashbax, Waldstein Express, Dance of the Mountain Raindrops, and The Dancing King, fun music filled with energy, rhythmic syncopations, bright, cheerful harmonies.
Works for Winds
- And They Gathered on Mount Carmel (1995)
- Fanfare and Carol for Christmas
- Fanfare for Christmas Morning (1995)
- Fanfare for Christmas Morning (Brass) (1995)
- The Fire of the Living God (1995)
- Flashbax (2011)
- The Incantations of the Prophets of Baal (1995)
- Jericho (2005)
- The Magical Mystical Rain Forest (1991)
- Prayer of Elijah, The (1995)
- Private Eye Prowl
- Rachel Weeping for Her Children September 11 2001 (2002)
- Shinkansen (2019/2022)
- Susanna and the Elders (1978)
- Veni Emmanuel (1997)
- Where the Stormy Winds Blow (2022)
- Jesse Ayers website - Accessed 11 May 2020