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Malone University’s Jesse Ayers named a semi-finalist for two American Prizes in Composition

April 9, 2013 | Release # 6600

Jesse AyersJesse Ayers, D.M.A., professor of music at Malone University, has been named a semi-finalist for two American Prizes in Composition – one each in the Orchestra and Band professional divisions.

The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit national competitions in the performing arts providing cash awards, professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition for the best recorded performances by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels. Administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Danbury, Conn. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually. The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories.

From the American Prize blog site:

"A significant number of candidates in each division made the preliminary cut," commented chief judge David Katz. "As we begin to move towards selecting finalists, and ultimately the winners and runners-up in each division, it will surely prove to be a very tight and exciting race, and a difficult final choice for our judges. The depth of talent on display is truly impressive."

Dr. 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 more than 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.

Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2015 


Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709
Phone: 330-471-8239
Cell: 330-324-2424

Categories: instrumentalmusic