I’m thrilled to announce the release of my new album Angelus. You can read all about it, and order a copy here. This is a deeply personal work for me, based on my mother’s experiences as a refugee after WWII. Special thanks to the Ecce Ensemble and to Nina Guo for her amazing interpretation.
“It’s impossible to deplete the thematic and expressive density of “Angelus” in a single listening: in just over forty minutes John Aylward manages to condense with absolute originality the linguistic innovations that have evolved over more than a hundred years of avant-gardes, while never resorting to sterile twists and turns nor to exaggerations suitable only for épater le bourgeois. With the complicity of a precise and close-knit ensemble, the young composer finds here a very rare balance between the fin de siècle decadentism of the last Romantics and the irrepressible exuberance of the contemporary.”
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.
Could not be happier to be one of this year’s Artist Fellows at the Massachusetts Cultural Council. I’m thrilled to be on this list along with composers I truly admire. I hope to make the work ahead deserving.
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.
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
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.