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Braeden Ayres

Composer / Chicago, IL
Member since April 2019
Welcome! My name is Braeden Ayres. I’m a composer, conductor, and music educator who believes that music and singing are for all people. As an artist, teacher, and conductor, my mission is to empower people, explore the human experience, and celebrate the human voice as a tool for self-expression. As a composer, my works vary widely in style, with pieces written especially for changing voices, high school choirs, and collegiate, community, and professional ensembles. Though I’m still very much an emerging composer, I’m fortunate to have had my music premiered at national and state-level ACDA honor choirs, all-states, and at local choir concerts across the United States. My music is published with MusicSpoke, Carl Fischer, Hal Leonard Music, and Augsburg Fortress. I hold a Ph.D. in Choral Music Education (Florida State University), where my doctoral dissertation focused on choral composition for changing male voices. As such, I am a passionate advocate of adolescent music education, particularly for young men. I hold additional degrees from the University of Northern Colorado (MM, Choral Conducting) and Baylor University (BME, Music Education) and am a member of ACDA, NAfME, and ASCAP. Before completing my doctorate, I served on the vocal faculty at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, teaching 6-12 grade students with a team of exceptional educators. In my time at DCC, the campus's choral program tripled to over 500 students; over 100 singers were accepted into various Middle School All-State, High School All-State, and ACDA National Honor Choirs; and the Performing Arts Department was a finalist for the “Thomas S. Crawford Team of the Year Award." During this time, I also served as the Assistant Artistic Director of “Out Loud: The Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus” and was an inaugural board member of the Colorado Middle School All-State Choir. I'm proud to bring my passion for education into my work as a composer, as I strive to write interesting and highly-crafted music for all kinds of voices and skill levels.

My Style

I cannot tell a lie: all previous attempts to neatly and cleanly describe my style have failed. In truth, my music draws from a wealth of styles, quite deliberately. If I ever sense myself writing too many pieces in a row that sound too similar, I consciously disrupt my process to change the style of the next work. My general approach is to treat each piece as a poetic character study, like the songs of Stephen Sondheim or the photographs of Cindy Sherman. As such, I derive equal joy in writing simple, folk-like melodies; wild, polyphonic, mixed-meter works; pastiches; and everything in between. Whether I am writing for a middle school or collegiate group, however, I strive to make each song I write a unique work of bespoke craftsmanship that will appeal to singers and audiences alike. As a conductor and music educator myself, I am passionate about creating new works which are accessible to young singers’ voices while also speaking to their diverse and powerful hearts. Though my pieces may be sung by ensembles of all ages, many are originally written for developing ensembles. I recently completed my doctoral dissertation on choral music for changing male voices (https://tinyurl.com/BraedenAyresProQuest), and this research continues to inform my craft. If you’d like to know more about my work, I invite you to visit my YouTube page, where you can access all my latest projects (https://www.youtube.com/c/BraedenAyres), or browse the 50+ works currently available on my website, www.braedenayres.com. If you’re looking for something for your particular ensemble, feel free to reach out so that I can personally curate a few selections that might appeal to you, based on your needs, or simply say hello. I look forward to working with you and your ensemble.


Testimonials

Judy R Arthur
Apr 3, 2021
Braedon is passionate about creating quality music for young singers. His experience with the changing male voice is especially important in promoting appropriate choral literature for use by middle and high schools educators. I really appreciate his dedication to our young singers!
Sylvia Aycock
Mar 17, 2021
Dr. Braeden Ayres is a dynamic and inspiring composer and clinician. He expertly weaves meaningful text with accessible voice parts in his repertoire for developing voices, particularly for Tenor/Bass singers! My middle school students absolutely loved singing his music, as they connected deeply with the lyrics and found their voices comfortably showcased in each voice part. Dr. Ayres understands young and changing voices and is devoted to creating interesting, meaningful, and beautiful works that allow all singers to express themselves genuinely.
Irene Apanovitch-Leites
Mar 16, 2021
Braeden led a fantastic workshop on one of his composition ("Give Thanks") with my treble choir. His attention to detail, enthusiasm, flexibility, and expertise made for an exceptional experience for my students. His candor, authenticity, and knack for storytelling set him apart as a clinician. I look forward to programming more of his music with my groups, and to hopefully bringing him in to work with my choirs in future years.
David Klement
Mar 15, 2021
I have had the joy of conducting and hearing several of Braeden Ayres' choral compositions in concert. I continue to be moved and impressed by his choral artistry. His works are fresh, creative, passionate and unique. I strongly urge those that wish to engage in a choral commission work with this very special composer and man!
Larisa Dreger
Mar 14, 2021
I have worked with Dr. Braeden Ayres for a number of years and am so grateful that he has a passion for and advocates for the adolescent singer in his compositions! He has incredible knowledge and expertise of the changing adolescent voice and an innate ability to write compositions that are accessible and versatile to my singers' abilities and capabilities. Due to the challenges of selecting and programming music for middle school choral classrooms (i.e. unbalanced voicing in my mixed choirs, the various stages of the changing male voice, finding relevant and engaging musical subject matter), I look to Dr. Ayres' compositions regularly to meet both curricular and performance objectives. It's also worth mentioning that he does an amazing job of working with students in festival or clinic settings as well-- both in live settings or virtual! Although my experience with his music is primarily tied to the middle school classroom experience, Dr. Ayres is multi-faceted in his ability to write expressive, moving, and thrilling music for all ages, abilities, and voicings; from the solo voice to the collegiate/professional ensemble. You and your singers will see significant growth personally, technically, and musically by singing his works!
Peter Steenblik
Mar 12, 2021
Dr. Ayres is a joy. I have had the privilege of inviting Dr. Ayres to clinic with my university ensembles, and also observed his compositional works premiered by various honor choirs. He is keenly aware of the needs of each ensemble--vocally and emotionally. I appreciate how versatile he is in caring for the collegiate student, those in their awkward middle school years, and everyone in between. His vocal works are composed with that awareness in mind--not just in terms of range, tessitura, etc., but through selection of appropriate and engaging texts. Having experienced his contributions in the roles of clinician, composer, pedagogue, and teacher, I am grateful to have learned from him and seek regular opportunities to work with him.
Carlton Kilpatrick
Mar 10, 2021
Braeden Ayres is an artist in his careful selection of meaningful text paired with singable melodies and beautiful harmonies. His compositions span all levels and types of ensembles. Braeden is particularly sensitive to approaching music for developing choirs with close attention to vocal ranges and his extensive knowledge of the changing voice. His experience in the middle school choral classroom is evident in the "teachability" of his compositions. Braeden's passion for choral music and choral communities is evident in his high-energy work as a conductor and clinician.
Stephanie Helleckson
Mar 10, 2021
Dr. Braeden Ayres is an exceptional composer, conductor, and advocate whose skill and passion shine in every piece he writes. From arrangements of relevant tunes for changing male voice, like "The Wellerman," to his emotionally evocative SATB works, such as his setting of Sara Teasdale's "There Will Come Soft Rains," Dr. Ayres's music delicately balances technical difficulty and educational substance with sincere beauty and emotional depth. His works are inherently fun to sing, while pushing choir members to move beyond their comfort level and freely emote through every song. I look forward to programing more of his works as my choirs return from their pandemic hiatuses!
Evan Powers
Mar 10, 2021
Braeden writes for the developing musician's soul. I am a middle school choral director, and when I am looking for repertoire, his website is always one of my first stops. He understands the developing voice, giving great care to range, voice leading, and using chord progressions and accompaniments kids will connect with. He chooses wonderful texts and paints them beautifully. He's also a fabulous teacher -- a total joy to watch work with students. His unique perspective and writing style are refreshing, and it gives choirs wonderful material to dive into!
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