Jesse Ayers


Jesse Ayers is among five composers named as the first "Honored Artists" of the American Prize. He is a 2014 recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award, winner of the 2013 Boston Metro Opera Concert Award, 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. 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 it 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 a very real God in the affairs of the human race.


  • D.M.A., Music Composition, 1995, University of Kentucky
  • M.M., Music Composition, 1980, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • B.M., Music Composition, 1974, University of Tennessee-Knoxville


  • 1997-present, Professor of Music, Malone University
  • 1997-1999, Chair, Department of Fine Arts, Malone College
  • 1995-1997, Chair, Department of Music, Knoxville College
  • 1982-1997, Associate Professor, Department of Music, Knoxville College

Recent Scholarly Work

  • The Passion of John Brown for orchestra and narrator
  • Jericho for surround-sound wind orchestra and narrator
  • Rahab for mezzo-soprano and surround sound wind orchestra
  • Veni Emmanuel for orchestra and chorus
  • Akedah for symphonic band and narrator
  • Beneath Suspicion, a mini-opera for two sopranos

Teaching Assignments

  • MUS 155, 156, 265, 366
  • Music Theory I-II-III-V
  • MUS 165, 166, 265
  • Aural Skills I-II-III
  • MUS 358 Orchestration