The Japanese bullet train races through various musical landscapes
Commissioned by OhioMTA and MTNA
Piano 4-hands. 8 minutes
Performed by Brent Scholeger & Raquel Teare
Composer Q & A at Ohio Music Teachers
2019 State Conference
The title suggests a metaphor of a fast train moving through landscapes of various musical styles: from a John Adams-ish minimalism, to a “pop” idiom melody/accompaniment, to jazz elements featuring an “improvisation” (written out) over “boogie” bass, to syncopated triadic juxtapositions found in mid-20th century concert band music, to contrapuntal canon. The challenge was to maintain compositional unity while flowing through these disparate styles.
OhioMTA Composer of the Year Commission
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.