Professor of Music Jesse Ayers among first honored artists of The American Prize

File Under: Academic Excellence

The American Prize in Composition recognizes the best composers of new works that have been publicly performed. This year – for the first time – the famed award program has named five honored artists, with Malone’s Jesse Ayers among them.

“I was caught by complete surprise since this is a brand new category of award from the American Prize. No one outside of the Prize staff knew such an idea was being considered,” Ayers said. “Of course, I am thrilled to be one of the five. I have known all of the other four selected composers and their work for several years. They are all highly skilled artists.”

Honored Artists of the American Prize are individuals who have proven to be musicians of “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the prestigious competitions.

Ayers won the 2011 American Prize in Orchestral Composition for his work The Passion of John Brown, commissioned by the Akron Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, he composed two of the seven finalist pieces in the Band Division of the American Prize: Jericho,  and … and They Gathered on Mount Carmel. This year, he was a finalist in two categories: Rahab in the Opera-Musical-Film Division, and Jericho in the Band Division.

Ayers’ recognition makes Malone the only institution with an honored artist on its full-time faculty.

“This is but one small example of national recognition of faculty achievement found across-the-board at Malone.” Ayers said. “I am honored to work with such distinguished colleagues, both within my department and the across the campus at-large.”