Ayọ̀ Olúrántí (formerly Ogúnrántí) studied Composition & Organ at the University of Southampton (UK), graduating with a first-class honours degree and holds a PhD in Composition & Theory from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Having studied pre-colonial art Yorùbá musical forms such as the Yorùbá folk opera with Akin Eúbà in the USA, Ayọ̀ 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 for use within his acoustic and electroacoustic compositional language. Recently commissioned to compose an opera based on an African/Yorùbá folktale, Ọmọ Àgbẹ̀, as part of a 2022 project, “Enriching and Decolonizing the Opera”, at James Madison University (USA), Olúrántí frequently works with traditional musicians exploring traditional musical genres across suburban centers in southwestern Nigeria.
Ayọ̀ won the 2019 Morehouse College Sub-Sahara Africa Commission Award (USA) as well as 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.