B i o g r a p h y
Ayọ̀ Olúrántí (formerly Ogúnrántí) has featured in the music scenes in Nigeria, UK & USA primarily as a composer and as well as a conductor, organist, music scholar and theorist. While his compositions have been performed from the Orient to the Occident, he has given recitals on historic and celebrity organs in different parts of the world. Ayọ̀ has successfully designed and directed sacred music programs and 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 a Senior Lecturer at the Music Department, Mountain Top University (Nigeria) was previously a post-doctoral research and teaching fellow at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. He is currently in residence as a fellow at Goethe-Institut (Germany) on the Postcolonial Recherche project.
Having studied pre-colonial art Yorùbá musical forms such as the Yorùbá folk opera with Akin Eúbà in the USA, 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 elements, processes and resources germane to the musical cultures of the Global South (especially African and African-American) for use within his acoustic and electroacoustic compositional language. Currently, he frequents suburban areas in South West Nigeria for field-work, studying traditional musical genres.
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 (African music), Don Franklin (Bach studies), Eric Moe (composition), Mathew Rosenblum (composition), Amy Williams (composition), Marcos Balter (composition) and Roger Zahab (composition & orchestration) in the USA.
Olúrántí, who won the 2019 Morehouse College Sub-Sahara Africa Commission Award (USA), has also won several other 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). The gold-winning Mountain Top Chorale premiered Ayo's Ràbàtà-Rabata at the 2018 Interkultur World Choir Games.
With a background in the fields of Industrial & Production Engineering as well as Computer Hardware Technology, Olúrántí is active in the world of digital and virtual pipe organ research, design and production.