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J. Aaron Stanley, Composer

  • M.M. in Music Composition, Southern Methodist University (2021)
  • B.M. in Trumpet Performance, Missouri State University (1998)

About J. Aaron Stanley

Short Bio
Longer Bio
Curriculum Vitae
List of Works
Short Bio

J. Aaron Stanley is a composer, arranger, and trumpeter currently living in the DFW area whose music fuses influences of American jazz and Mexican folk/popular music within the classical music tradition. His music often combines a cinematic flair with rhythmic drive, colorful orchestration, bold harmonies, attention to craft, and experimentation with musical palindromes at the motivic and structural level. 

 

He was the composer in residence of the Irving Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season, where his work Huapango de los Muertos was premiered in Feb. 2020. He has written a number of other concert works for many different types of ensembles, with an emphasis on large ensemble works, such as his thesis project, Fronteras for Wind Ensemble. He also enjoys writing for voices, and recently completed his first 1-act operetta, Waiting Room. He is currently working on several commissioned projects.

 

As arranger, Stanley has written over 200 arrangements in many different styles for ensembles ranging from small combos to full symphony orchestra. 

Stanley has a B.M. in Trumpet Performance from Missouri State University and a M.M. in Music Composition from Southern Methodist University. He has studied composition with Dr. John Prescott, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Carolyn Bremer, Dr. Robert Frank, and Dr. Xi Wang. 

Longer Bio

J. Aaron Stanley is an active freelance composer, arranger, and trumpeter currently living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

 

As Composer & Arranger

J. Aaron Stanley's concert music fuses influences of American jazz and Mexican popular and folk music within the classical music tradition. His music often combines a cinematic flair with rhythmic drive, colorful orchestration, bold harmonies, attention to craft, and experimentation with musical palindromes at the motivic and structural level. 

Stanley was the composer in residence of the Irving Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season, where his work Huapango de los Muertos for Symphony Orchestra was premiered on Feb. 22, 2020. 

 

Stanley has written a number of concert works for many different types of ensembles. His composition Celestial Orbits, a musical palindrome for Wind Ensemble, was recently premiered by the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble in October 2019. His composition Heroes & Villains for Wind Ensemble won the 2010 Penfield Music Commission Project Composition Contest, and the 2011 Cal State Bakersfield Composition Competition. Each resulted in a public performance of the work. His arrangement, Carol of the Bells for British Brass Band won “Best Arrangement” in the 2005 Northrop International Brass Band Composition Contest. The orchestral version is occasionally rented through Janen Music Rentals.

He was recently commissioned to compose Metamorphosis: A Butterfly’s Journey of Transformation by Dr. Cara Pollard for the Imbroglio Sextet, which was professionally recorded in Spain in August 2019, and is slated to be premiered later in 2020. Huapango de los Muertos was commissioned by Dr. William Haugeberg for Trombone and String Quartet, and was premiered at the International Trombone Festival in July 2019. It is scheduled to be professionally recorded later this year. A version for Solo Trombone and Trombone Choir was also commissioned.

He recently completed his first one-act opretta, Waiting Room, which was workshopped by the SMU vocal department, and slated for performance in Spring 2020—until the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all performances. Before that, he had collaborated on several (unfinished) musical theater projects, writing a number of songs.

He composed music for a number of short films while living in Los Angeles, conducting his own recording sessions. Recorded excerpts can be found here.

 

As arranger, Aaron has written over 200 arrangements in many different styles (classical, jazz, commercial, sacred) for many types of ensembles from small combos to full symphony orchestra.

He has a M.M. in Music Composition from Southern Methodist University, and has studied composition with Dr. John Prescott, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Carolyn Bremer, Dr. Robert Frank, and Dr. Xi Wang.

As Performer & Band Leader

 

As a performer, Aaron remains active performing many different styles and with many different types of ensembles from classical to jazz and commercial, and from small chamber ensembles, pit orchestras, and jazz combos to full big band, wind ensemble, and symphony orchestra. 

 

He has worked several cruise ship contracts as a show band musician with Princess and Carnival Cruises. 

 

As a jazz musician he has organized his own ensembles as band leader – a jazz combo, a 10-piece swing band, a dixieland band, and other ensembles for private events and parties. 

 

He has a B.M. in Trumpet Performance from Missouri State University, and has studied with Dr. Neill Seipp, Michael Casey, Dr. Grant Peters, and has taken lessons with Pops McLaughlan, Adrian Griffin, and Ryan Anthony.

He is also active as a trumpet teacher, with a private studio made up of students from all over the DFW metroplex.

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

Career Goals & Objectives

  • To consistently stay active creating music as a composer, arranger, and performer, while enjoying financial abundance. 
  • To create an extensive catalog of classical concert works of the highest artistic integrity, have them professionally recorded, frequently performed, and be regularly commissioned to write more. 
  • To obtain a D.M.A. in Music Composition from a reputable university.
  • To serve the community by doing my part to pass on my knowledge and experience to the next generation.
Education
  • M.M. in Music Composition from Southern Methodist University. (Spring 2021)

    • Studied Composition with Dr. Robert Frank and Dr. Xi Wang.
  • Took independent classical trumpet lessons with Adrian Griffin, author of the book From Buzz to Brilliance and principal trumpet of the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Monterrey, Mexico). (2016-2017) 
  • Participated in most of a year-long musical theater training program for composers, lyricists, and book writers with ANMT (Academy of New Musical Theater) in Los Angeles. (My move to Mexico interrupted the program.) (2012)
  • Participated in Scott Smalley's Film Orchestration course (Los Angeles). (2011)
  • Took some independent composition lessons with the late Dr. Carolyn Bremer (Long Beach, CA). (2010)
  • Worked towards an (incomplete) M.M. in Music Composition at Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University). (2000)
    • Studied Composition with Dr. John Prescott and Dr. Michael Murray.
  • B.M. in Trumpet Performance from Missouri State University (formerly Southwest Missouri State University). (1999)
    • Studied Trumpet with Dr. Neil Seipp (Central Missouri State University), Michael Casey (MSU), and Dr. Grant Peters (MSU).
Commissions, Awards, & Accomplishments
  • 2021 - Commissioned by Jack Delaney of the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble to compose a Concerto for Violin. Work in progress.
  • 2021 – Commissioned by Dr. William Haugeberg of the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley to create a version of Huapango de los Muertos for Solo Trombone and Trombone Choir. Slated for premiere in 2022. 

  • 2020 – My work, Hullaballoo for Violin, Clarinet, Trumpet, and Piano, was selected for inclusion in the New Works Recital Series at the 2021 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Garden Grove, CA, June 1-5, 2021. 

  • 2020 – Huapango de los Muertos for Symphony Orchestra was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Reno Pops Orchestra Composer's Night Competition.
  • 2020 – Moon Dances for Symphony Orchestra was selected as a semi-finalist in the Tampa Bay SO 5thAnnual Call for Scores Composition Competition. 
  • 2019 – Huapango de los Muertos for Symphony Orchestra was one of 17 finalists out of 131 entries into the Tampa Bay SO 4th Annual Call for Scores Composition Competition. 
  • 2019 – Selected as Composer in Residence for the Irving Symphony Orchestra (a professional orchestra in the DFW area) for the 2019-2020 season, which premiered my Huapango de los Muertos on February 22, 2020.
  • 2020 – Waiting Room, a 1-Act Operetta, was workshopped by the SMU Voice Department, and slated for performance in April 2020, but the performance was canceled due to COVID-19.
  • 2019 – Commissioned by Dr. William Haugeberg of the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley to compose Huapango de los Muertos for Trombone and String Quartet. Premiered at the 2019 International Trombone Festival, and slated for recording in 2021.
  • 2018 – Commissioned by Dr. Cara Pollard of Texas Christian University to compose Metamorphosis: A Butterfly's Journey of Transformation for the Imbroglio Sextet. Recorded in Spain, August 2019, and awaiting premiere public performance.
  • 2011 – Won the 2011 Cal-State Bakersfield Composition Competition for Heroes & Villains for Wind Ensemble. Performed by the Cal-State Bakersfield community concert band in Bakersfield, CA that same year.
  • 2010 – Won the 2010 Penfield Music Commission Project Composition Contest for Heroes & Villains for Wind Ensemble. Premiered by the Penfield High School Wind Ensemble in Rochester, NY that same year.
  • 2005 – Won "Best Arrangement" in the 2005 Northrop International Brass Band Composition Competition in the "Arrangement" category for Carol of the Bells for Brass Band. Received public performance.
Overview of Musical Experience

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX (2018-present)

  • Active as a composer. Finished my Masters in Composition. Composed a number of original works, including commissioned works.
  • Active as arranger, mostly for concert music and jazz. Wrote a number of arrangements for the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble, among others.
  • Active as a versatile freelance trumpet player (Jazz, Big Band, Top 40, Latin, Musical Theater, Church Orchestras, Classical, etc.), but now only gigging occasionally while focusing more on composing.
  • Active as a private lesson teacher, having taught trumpet in various school districts. I am also giving private arranging lessons.

 

Monterrey, Mexico (2012-2013 / 2015-2017)

  • Freelance trumpet player—mostly jazz but also classical, commercial, and various Latin styles. Played for many live events and recording sessions. 
  • Highlights: Participated in several performances of Stravinski's Soldier's Tale. Performed as part of the trumpet section for the Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatán, a professional orchestra in Mérida. Performed at various music festivals with my jazz ensembles, including a spot at the Monterrey Jazz Festival (Mexico, not the other one). Performed for the governor of the state of Nuevo León with my group, Mardi Gras Brass, playing my own arrangement, which I was hired to write for the occasion. 
  • Founded MonteJAZZ Vintage Bands and formed a number of jazz ensembles: A Dixieland Band (The Dixie Cats), a 6-horn big band (The Swing Cats), a jazz combo (The Jazz Cats), a pop-jazz combo (Take Five Quintet), a swinging rock & roll band (The Rockin’ Rollers), a vintage-style pop band a la Postmodern Jukebox (Radio RE:Mix), and a second line brass band (Mardi Gras Brass)… all mostly with my own original arrangements.
  • Extensive jazz arranging experience, while having my arrangements performed in live concerts and events.
  • Conducted a short-lived big band for about 3 months, with weekly rehearsals.
  • Taught occasional private trumpet lessons to those who approached me. 
  • Learned Spanish. 

 

Life at Sea (2014)

  • Served several contracts as a showband musician playing trumpet onboard Princess & Carnival Cruises. 
  • Composed during my free time. 

 

​Los Angeles, CA (2001-2012)

  • Freelance arranger and composer, and occasional performer.
  • Composed several independent short films, coordinating and conducting the recording sessions, while working with local Hollywood professional musicians.
  • Worked on several musical theater collaborations that ultimately fell apart, but provided valuable experience. Wrote many musical theater songs (specific to the project) that do not appear in my catalog nor list of works. 
  • Composed for wind band, brass band, choir, and chamber ensembles. 
  • Formed a British style brass band and a brass quintet.
  • Worked for a period of time in non-musical jobs, such as: computer/network technician; bookkeeping; marketing & copywriting. These experiences not only made me more determined to make a career in music and to be more resilient, but taught me valuable skills I still use today. 

 

​Springfield, MO (1995-2000)

  • Conducted the local Salvation Army Brass Band for one year.
  • Taught private trumpet lessons for two years at Palen Music Center.
  • Performed in the university Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Band, along with occasional freelance gigs.
  • Began studying composition and composed a number of student-level works.
List of Works

List of Works & Their Performances, Recordings, Publication, & Recognition (In Reverse Chronological Order)

This list includes all opus-numbered works, plus a few notable other works I didn't give an opus designation, either because I no longer consider them part of my catalog (but they did receive at least one performance), or because it is a film score, song, or arrangement that I felt didn't warrant an opus number, which would effectively designate it a "classical concert work." There are also many other arrangements I've written over the years, most of them jazz or commercial, and songs that I've written but not produced, or written as part of a now defunct musical collaboration, that are not part of this list.

Three Kings Fantasy, Op. 5b for Orchestra (2021) - 4m
  • Available for rental. Unperformed.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Huapango de los Muertos, Op. 12d for Solo Trombone & Trombone Choir (2021) - 8m
  • Commissioned by Dr. Bill Haugeberg of UT-RGV. He wanted a Solo Trombone with Trombone Choir version of an earlier piece for Trombone & String Quartet he had commissioned. See below.
  • To be premiered 2022.
Link to Work
Huapango de los Muertos, Op. 12c for Wind Ensemble (2021) - 8m
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Orchestra. See below.
Link to Work
Greensleeves, Op. 2c for Orchestra (2021) - 4m
  • Available for rental. Unperformed.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band. See below.
Link to Work
Fanfare for the Olympians, Op. 1c for Orchestral Brass & Percussion (2021) - 2m
  • Unperformed.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band. See below.
Heroes & Villains, Op. 7(r) for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band (2010, rev. 2021) - 8m
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Significant revision of an earlier version. See below.
Link to Work
Fronteras, Op. 20 for Wind Ensemble (2021) - 11m
  • Composed as my thesis project in partial fulfillment of my M.M. in Composition from SMU.
  • To be premiered by the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble, Dr. Jack Delaney, cond.
Link to Work
Short Film Score: Grit (2020) - approx. 5m of music

Hybrid orchestral-electronic score produced electronically.

Moon Dances, Op. 19 for Orchestra (2020, rev. 2021) - 6.5m
  • Was scheduled for a reading by the SMU Meadows Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2020. Canceled due to COVID-19.
  • Selected as a semi-finalist for the 5th Annual Call for Scores Composition Competition by the Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra.
Link to Work
Waiting Room, Op. 18, a 1-Act Operetta for 8 Solo Vocalists & Piano (2020, rev. 2021) - 25m
  • Workshopped by the SMU vocal department in Spring 2020.
  • Scheduled for performance in Spring 2020. Canceled due to COVID-19.
  • Recorded in March 2021 using SMU vocal majors, and streamed during my graduate recital.
Link to Work
Charge of the Light Brigade, Op. 17 for Baritone Voice & Piano (2020) - 6m
  • Premiered in March 2021 during my graduate recital.
Deep Space Voyage for Young Band (2020, rev. 2021) - 2.5m
  • Available for sale. Self-published.
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
Link to Work
Ascent of an Ancient Empire for Young Band (2020, rev. 2021) - 2.5m
  • Available for sale. Self-published.
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
Link to Work
Hullaballoo, Op. 16 for Violin, Clarinet, Trumpet, & Piano (2019) - 7m
  • Dedicated to the late Ryan Anthony.
  • Selected for performance at the 2021 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Anaheim, CA (later changed to virtual) as part of their New Works Recital Series. 
  • Professionally recorded and streamed during the virtual 2021 ITG Conference, with Kevin Finamore, longtime colleague of Ryan Anthony in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, on Trumpet.
  • Performed during my graduate recital in March 2021.
Link to Work
Huapango de los Muertos, Op. 12b for Orchestra (2019) - 7m
  • Premiered by the Irving Symphony Orchestra, Feb. 22, 2020.
  • Selected as one of 17 semi-finalists (among 131 entries) for the 4th Annual Call for Scores Composition Competition by the Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra.
  • Selected as a finalist for the 2020 Reno Pops Orchestra Composer's Night Competition.
  • Adapted from an earlier chamber work for Trombone & String Quartet.
Link to Work
Shafts of Sunlight Through Stained-Glass Windows, Op. 15 for Antiphonal Brass & Percussion (2019) - 4m
  • Premiered during my graduate composition recital, March 2021.
Link to Work
Rondo for Tuba & Piano, Op. 14 (2019) - 7m
  • Composed for my friend, tubist Abel Rios.
  • Awaiting premiere by Abel Rios.
Light the Torch, Op. 13 for Brass Ensemble (2019) - 3m

Unperformed.

Isabella Rhapsody, Op. 4b for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band (2019, rev. 2021) - 4.5m
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Huapango de los Muertos, Op. 12a for Trombone & String Quartet (2019) - 7m
  • Commissioned by Dr. Bill Haugeberg of UT-RGV.
  • Premiered by Dr. Bill Haugeberg at the 2019 International Trombone Festival.
Link to Work
Celestial Orbits: A Musical Palindrome, Op. 11 for Wind Ensemble (2019, rev. 2021) - 7m
  • Premiered Nov. 15, 2019 by the SMU Meadows Wind Ensemble.
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
Link to Work
Chakras: A Musical Journey of Enlightenment, Op. 10 for Woodwind Quintet & Percussion (2019) - 18m

Unperformed.

Link to Work
Metamorphosis: A Butterfly's Journey of Transformation, Op. 9 for Clarinet, Trumpet, & String Quartet (2019) - 9m
  • Commissioned by Dr. Cara Pollard and the Imbroglio Sextet.
  • Recorded by the Imbroglio Sextet in Spain in August 2019, and included in their album, Greetings from Gran Hostal el Chiscón.
  • Awaiting live premiere performance. (Delayed due to COVID-19.)
Link to Work
I Dream A World, Op. 8 for SATB a cappella Choir (2014) - 4m

Unperformed.

Short Film Score: LoveStruck (2011) - approx. 6.5m of music
  • Recorded with live electric guitar, electric bass, drums, and violin, while supplemented with samples.
  • Multi-tracked.
Link to Film Demos
Short Film Score: Swordsman (2011) - approx. 12m of music
  • Recorded with live ethnic instruments (koto, shakuhachi, and shinobue), and supplemented with samples.
  • Multi-tracked.
Link to Film Demos
Short Film Score: Malice (2011) - approx. 5m of music
  • Recorded with a live brass ensemble (of 6 brass players with 3 overdubs), live clarinet, and supplemented with samples.
  • Personally conducted recording session.
  • Main theme was incorporated into the revised version of Heroes & Villains. See above.
Link to Film Demos
Short Film Score: Seminarista (2011) - approx. 11m of music
  • Recorded with a live chamber ensemble of Clarinet, Viola, Cello, and Piano, and supplemented with orchestral string samples.
  • Personally conducted recording session.
Link to Film Demos
Song: Rockstar Sales Superstar (2011) - 3m
  • Wrote music & lyrics, based on the teachings of sales trainer, Eric Lofholm.
  • Recorded with all live instruments, multi-tracked: several guitar tracks, bass, drums, and horn section. Horn section recorded as 4-piece unit (2 Trumpets, Trombone, Alto Sax).
Link to Songs
Song: Winds of Change (2011) - 4m
  • Wrote music & lyrics.
  • Recorded with all live instruments, multi-tracked: guitar, bass, drums, and 8-piece wind ensemble. (Guitars, bass, and vocal need re-recording before release.)
  • Personally conducted wind ensemble for recording.
Link to Songs
Variations on Noel Nouvelët, Op. 3b for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band (2010, being revised) - 9m
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Fanfare for the Big Game, Op. 6b for Symphonic Band (2010, rev. 2021) - 3m
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Heroes & Villains, Op. 7 for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band (2010) - 6m
  • Won 2010 Penfield Music Commission Project Composition Contest and premiered by the Penfield High School Wind Ensemble in Rochester, NY that same year.
  • Won 2011 Cal-Sate Bakersfield Composition Competition and performed by the Cal-State Bakersfield community concert band in Bakersfield, CA that same year.
  • Later significantly revised (see above). This version is no longer in my catalog. (Link goes to revised version.)
Link to Work
Carol of the Bells for Orchestra (2010, rev. 2021) - 3m
  • Available for rental, and occasionally rented through Janen Music Rentals.
  • At least 4 orchestras will perform the work in December 2021.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Carol of the Bells for Symphonic Band (2010, rev. 2021) - 3m
  • Read but not performed.
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Greensleeves, Op. 2b for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band (2010, rev. 2021) - 4m
  • Read but not performed.
  • To be recorded by the Missouri State University Wind Ensemble, Dr. John Zastoupil, cond.
  • Adapted from an earlier work for Brass Band.
Link to Work
Cantata: A Christmas Spectacular for Brass Quintet, Percussion, Piano, and SATB Choir (2004) - 15m
  • Premiered in December 2004 in Torrance, CA by the Emerald Street Brass Quintet and two community choirs, all of which are now defunct.
  • Performed in December 2005 by the El Camino College Choir in Torrance, CA.
  • A combination of original songs & music with arrangements of classic hymns. No longer in my catalog, but open to creating a new and better one.
Three Kings Fantasy, Op. 5a for Brass Band (2004) - 4m
  • Accepted for publication by BookWright Music in 2020.
  • Later adapted for Orchestra. See above.
Isabella Rhapsody, Op. 4a for Brass Band (2003) - 4m
  • Read by the Dallas Brass Band in 2019, with me conducting. Unperformed.
  • Later adapted for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band. See above.
Variations on a French Carol, Op. 3a for Brass Band (2002) - 9m
  • Read by the Salvation Army Western Territorial Band in 2002, with me conducting. Unperformed.
  • Later adapted and renamed to Variations on Noel Nouvelët for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band. See above.
Greensleeves, Op. 2a for Brass Band (2002) - 4m
  • Unperformed.
  • Later adapted for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band and Orchestra. See above.
Carol of the Bells for Brass Band (2002) - 3m
  • Won 2005 Northrop International Brass Band Composition Competition in the "Arrangement" category and received a performance.
  • Has been performed a handful of times in Southern California, with me conducting at least one performance.
  • Later adapted for Symphonic Band and Orchestra. See above.
Fanfare for the Olympians, Op. 1b for Brass Band (2002) - 2m
  • Accepted for publication by BookWright Music in 2020.
Orchestral Sketch #1 for Orchestra (2000) - 7m
  • Premiered by the (Southwest) Missouri State University Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2000.
  • No longer in my catalog. Later revised and adapted into Heroes & Villains for Wind Ensemble or Symphonic Band. See above.
Documentary Score: Ozarks Voices (2000) - approx. 40m of music
  • Recorded with a live 12-piece Wind Ensemble, which I conducted.
Short Film Score: Stock Issues (2000) - approx. 5m of music
  • Recorded with a live 13-piece Chamber Orchestra, which I conducted.