SHINKANSEN (band version)

“A thrill-ride for the audience”
The Japanese bullet train races through various musical landscapes.
9 minutes. Grade 4-5 (see note)


I first encountered “Shinkansen” (bullet train) in its original version for piano four-hands, and was thrilled to hear first of the orchestral then the band version. “Shinkansen” is a delightful work, a real thrill-ride for the audience and an exciting and meaningful challenge for the performers. Truly never a dull moment as the bullet train transports us through a series of colorful and brilliantly orchestrated episodes heading toward one of the most exciting endings one ever hears. In my experience with both versions, it is always a hit with the audience!
— Dr. Patrick Reynolds, director, University of Dayton Symphonic Wind Ensemble

(Extra hardcopy scores and parts by also be ordered at the Pepper link.)

Also available for Orchestra and for Piano 4-Hands


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Complete recording

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Composer Q & A at Ohio Music Teachers State Conference
(about original piano 4-hand score)

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Performed by

• University of Dayton Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Patrick Reynolds, conducting
• Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra, Travis Jürgens, conducting
• Tennessee Wind Symphony, John Culvahouse, conducting
• Valparaiso Univ. Chamber Concert Band, Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conducting
• Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra; Patrick Reynolds, conducting
• Univ. of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra; M. Griffith, conducting
• Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra; James Park, conducting
• Franklin & Marshall College Orchestra; Brian Norcross, conducting

Program Notes

The title suggests a speeding train racing through various musical landscapes. The compositional challenge was to maintain musical unity while flowing through these disparate styles.

This work is dedicated to my late sister, Linda Ayers Crumpton, an accomplished pianist, who, as a young teen, filled the home in which we were raised with the sounds of Chopin polonaises and Beethoven sonatas.

Note on Difficulty Level

This note from Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler (who has conducted the work), Director of Bands at Valparaiso University and Past President of the Indiana Music Educators Association and the Indiana Bandmasters Association:

I’ve had a chance to look at the Shinkansen score again, and I believe the work is a Grade 5 (and that others might say 4.5) In my opinion, much of the work is Grade 4, but these four elements make it a Grade 5 for me:
1. Fast technical flourishes
2. Solos (need strong players to make them sound great).
[See lengthy trombone solo mm. 147-180, tuba solo mm. 81-88, oboe-clar/flute duet mm. 68-79]
3. Precise percussion, piano, and harp, especially between mm. 91-121
4. Fast tempo

OhioMTA Composer of the Year Commission

Dr. Ayers with his music theory students at Malone University. His classroom walls are decorated with photos of his students’ performances.

January 22, 2019.  by Amber Balash

Accolades are nothing new to Malone University’s well-respected and accomplished Professor of Music Jesse Ayers, whose compositions have been performed in nearly a dozen countries and more than 100 U.S. cities.

Yet being named the Ohio Music Teachers 2019 Commissioned Composer of the Year felt particularly special.

“I am humbled and excited to receive this honor from Ohio’s oldest organization of professional music teachers,” Ayers said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of composing a new piece worthy of one of Ohio’s most important music associations.”

As the Commissioned Composer of the Year, Ayers will create a new work [the now-completed Shinansen for piano 4-hands, also transcribed by the composer for orchestra] to be premiered in October at the 2019 OhioMTA state conference. Ohio MTA was founded in 1879 and is affiliated with the Music Teachers National Association, founded in 1876 and the nation’s oldest organization of professional music teachers.

Ayers was the winner of the inaugural American Prize for Orchestral Composition in 2011, and was named an “Honored Artist” of the American Prize in 2014. Recent honors include First Prize in the 2016 Opera Kansas Zepick Modern Opera Composition competition, a 2014 Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award, the 2013 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award, co-winner of the 2011 Dayton Ballet “New Music for New Dance” competition, and a 2010 MacDowell Fellowship. Recent commissions include those from the Akron Symphony, Soprani Compagni, the Indiana Bandmasters Association, the Ohio Private Colleges Instrumental Conductors Association, the Wisconsin Lutheran National Honors Band, and Milligan College.

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 God in the affairs of the human race.

Other Works for Band

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