Etchings 2019

It was a peak experience to teach alongside Kaija Saariaho, Francesco Filidei and Martin Brody at this year’s Etchings Festival. Getting to know these wonderful people so well, under such extraordinary conditions and in an amazing part of France was really a dream. Etchings is now 11 years old and it keeps developing in beautiful ways.


Tiergarten is a setting of three poems by Rainer Marie Rilke that are about animals, the Swan, the Panther and the Unicorn. The work is for soprano and contrabass and was written for Nina Guo and Eddie Kass. They have been performing the work this season and this particular recording is from a concert in New York this past October.

Texts and translations.



White Rush

I recently worked with artist / director Laine Rettmer on a short operetta called White Rush. The work is about a surreal meeting between Leda (from the myth Leda and the Swan) and Kurt Cobain. As they meet and sing together, they come to terms with issues surrounding how cultural mythologies propagate negative stereotypes around sexual assault and normalize it.

Leda was played by Aliana de la Guardia. And I worked closely with Tyler Adamthwaite in composing the electronic score. The performance was part of a full multimedia installation by Laine Rettmer also called White Rush at AREA Gallery in Boston.

White Rush (2018) 30′
Concept by Laine Rettmer
Book by Laine Rettmer and John Aylward
Music by John Aylward

Premiere: AREA Gallery. Boston, MA. David Guerra, gallerist




Pictures from Takefu

Last month I was a guest composer at the Takefu International Music Festival where I was teaching and coaching some performances of some new pieces. It was an honor to work alongside Toshio Hosokawa, the festival’s director, other guest teachers Isabel Mundry and Hitomi Kaneko, and a group of some very talented students.