B i o g r a p h y
Ayọ̀ Olúrántí (formerly Ogúnrántí) has featured in the music scenes in Nigeria, UK & USA in the last thirty-five years primarily as a composer and as well as a conductor, organist, music scholar and theorist. His compositions have been performed in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Russia and South America. He has also given recitals on historic and celebrity organs in different parts of the world. Ayọ̀ has successfully designed and directed both liturgical and pentecostal church music programs. He was previously the Composer-In-Residence and Associate Organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, where he also conducted the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra. He is a member of Bafrik, Brazil and a founding composer-member of Alia Musica, Pittsburgh. Ayo, currently an independent scholar, was previously a post-doctoral research and teaching fellow at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
In his intercultural approach to music composition he experiments with the fusion of elements that define Western Art music, Yorùbá and Igbo musics of Nigeria. Having studied pre-colonial
art Yorùbá musical forms such as the Yorùbá folk opera with Akin Eúbà, he proceeded to Ìrágbìjí, Ọ̀sun State, Nigeria to study and record dùndún music - a Yorùbá instrumental genre. He applies the theoretical principles and instrumentation of dùndún music in his compositions. On a broader facet, Ayọ̀, who believes in both the traditional and the contemporary ‘experimental’ approaches to music within a postmodernist aesthetic, researches various African musical processes and resources for use within his compositional language.
Ayọ̀ graduated from the University of Southampton, UK with first-class honours (summa cum laude) in Music Composition & Organ Performance and holds an MA and a PhD in Composition & Theory from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. He had the extraordinary privilege to study music with distinguished scholars and performers: Sarah Baldock (organ at Winchester Cathedral), William Drabkin (advanced counterpoint & fugue), Michael Finnissy (composition), Michael Zev Gordon (composition), David Owen Norris (organ) and Peter White (conducting) in the UK; Akin Eúbà (ethnomusicology; African music), Don Franklin (Bach studies), Eric Moe (composition), Mathew Rosenblum (composition), Amy Williams (composition) and Roger Zahab (composition & orchestration) in the USA.
Olúrántí, who holds the General Musicianship Diploma from the Ecumenical School of Music, Ibadan, has won several awards and scholarships: Andrew Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship (USA), St. Michael’s Organ scholarship (UK), Tafawa Balewa Scholarship (UK), Heather Award (for best interpretation of Bach’s keyboard work – Southampton), Michael James Music Trust Award (UK), Sidney Perry Award (UK), Brereton Memorial Fund grants (UK) etc. He was the winner of the 2009 Donald Sutherland Endowment Fund Composition Competition (USA). Living Faith Connections, RCCG, London (2010), the Ibadan Anglican Diocese (2002), Christ Apostolic Church, Yaba (2000), and the Blood of Jesus Apostolic Church, Ibadan (1998), have all presented Ayo with awards in recognition of his contribution to the growth of church music.
With a background in the fields of Industrial & Production Engineering as well as Computer Hardware Technology, Olúrántí is the Lead Consultant for Altus Klass, a digital and pipe organ consulting firm. He also handles tonal design and organ voicing for Sanus Domino, the providers of Sanus digital organ.