Aaron Travers, composer

Aaron Travers headshot

Aaron Travers’ music is multi-faceted, encompassing a range of styles and techniques, and explores the intersection of seemingly incompatible elements.  His pieces have been performed widely across the United States, as well as select locations in Europe, Asia and South America, and in major music festivals such as the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Festival de Musica Contemporanea in Cuba, and the World Saxophone Congress in Scotland.

He has received numerous awards including the Arts and Letters Award and the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alexander Zemlinksy Prize, the Barlow Prize, and the Fromm Foundation Composition Prize.  His music has been performed by Dal Niente, the Third Coast Percussion Quartet, The South Dakota Symphony, NOTUS Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and the American Wild Ensemble, among many others.  Selected compositions are recorded under the Innova, Raven and Artist Share labels.

Mr. Travers also enjoys nature photography and prose writing.  He has written two books in a series for young adults available on Kindle Direct Publishing and is working on a third and fourth.  He currently serves as Associate Professor of Composition at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he resides with his wife, pianist Winnie Cheung, and his two children, Rowan and Linden.

Aaron Travers' The Nameless Path premiered with the Grossman Ensemble on December 2, 2022. 


Program notes: 

The Nameless Path is a metaphor for how the piece was composed. I began with a relatively clear idea of what I thought I wanted to happen in the piece, but at a certain point, I found myself in a place I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t a bad place, and truth be told I quite liked where I ended up, but I no longer knew what was around the bend in the path. In a sense, I let the music lead me where it wanted to go. Sometimes, I could see a little ways in front of me. Then I would have to pause, figure out where the music seemed to want to go, and continue on my way. It was unsettling at times, but exciting, too.

The music begins with a single E-flat. Gradually, other notes are added in a long, slowly unfolding melody. At times, we leave the path to explore something—an oboe solo, rustlings of shakers— always returning to the opening E-flat, returning to the path. Sometimes, the music is slow, sometimes pressing forward or drawing wild arcs across the page, other times rushing at breakneck speed. But it never quite loses its center.

The Nameless Path is an invitation to explore, to try something a little bit new, to look around for a change and really notice things you take for granted. As such, I’ve made sure that there are plenty of details to draw the listener in. Hopefully, if you listen to it several times, you’ll notice something new each time.

Grossman Ensemble premieres Aaron Travers' "The Nameless Path"