Aaron Corley





Aaron Corley is a Utah (United States)-based composer. He first purchased music composition software in the early nineties and has been expressing himself through music ever since, resulting a growing body of work he is eager to share with others. His interests include travel, reading, board and computer games, the arts and history which have led him to write and arrange in various styles including Blues, classical, Latin, sacred, jazz, rock/pop and atonal music. You can learn more about him and his music here:




What does music mean to you personally?

Corley: Music is the meaning in my life. I took piano lessons as a child and starting composing as a young adult. I have always enjoyed listening to other people’s music as well. When times have been hard, I have turned to the music to help me work things out. When times have been good, I express it through melody and rhythm.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Corley: No, but I will concede that music is a form of escapism and therefore closely aligned with fantasy—for both the listener and the composer. Often, artists create to help them deal with the pain in their life; likewise, listeners often turn to music for the same reason. The commiseration creates a sense of intimacy between both parties. Conversely, music conveys uplifting and/or joyful feelings, it helps the listen remember or imagine the better parts of life and can bring them out of the darkness.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

Corley: I’ve done a lot of different jobs over the years. I’ve been a soldier, human resources professional and elementary school paraeducator, to name a few.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?

Corley: No, but that isn’t to say that cultivating younger audiences will be easy. They have a lot competing for their attention and many of them have had very little exposure to classical music outside of advertising and Tiktok. The curiosity and novelty are there, however, and I think that a combination of enduring works and quality new material will keep people interested for generations to come. At the same time, I don’t think musically-creative people should assume that a large group of casual fans will be more rewarding than a small group of devoted ones.

What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Corley: I don’t see the role of music changing much in the next century. It has been an integral part of the human experience for centuries. In the future, it will continue to be a part of video games, movies and similar forms of entertainment, advertising and everyday life. As new technologies develop, creative people will have to manage them effectively to maintain ownership of their creations while simultaneously getting them out to a worldwide audience. Meanwhile, algorithms will continue to become more and more sophiscated, allowing creators to target their ideal audience with greater efficiency. Hopefully, this will enhance the symbiosis between composer and listener beyond anything we have already known.

Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Corley: I think musicians today need to be more well-rounded, particularly those who are not backed by a label, university, symphony or similar organization. Being a creative person today requires you to market yourself which includes a lot of networking and thinking outside the box. The serious musician, one who wants to get themselves in front of real and virtual audiences, needs to continue learning not just their instrument, but many of things traditionally considered the „business side“ of music. Creativity can then be applied not just to writing new music, but getting it to the people who will cherish it.

Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

Corley: As I said earlier, younger audiences have a lot competing for their attention. They also like having their other senses participate. The key to attracting (and keeping) them may be in combining sight, sound and the other senses in unique and interesting ways previous unattainable but now within our grasp thanks to the ubiquity of technology.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

Corley: Over the last several years, I have used a lot of templates in my composing. I’ll select the genre and form first, then apply a chord progression and melody before massaging them into something I’m happy with.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Corley: Some people think there is no longer a need to study theory, but I disagree. Studying theory adds possibilities to a composer’s work even if those possibilities as discarded along the way. In addition, it provides short cuts to figuring out how things should be done. Music is a language; correct grammar and punctuation still go far in effectively communicating ideas. So my advise, along with learning your instrument and the business side of music, are to take theory seriously.

you think about the audience when composing?

Corley: I’m still at the point in my career where much of what I compose is for me. Often, I will experiment with an idea, develop it as much as I think it needs and then seek out someone to tell me what they think.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Corley: I generally take the summers off. I’m looking forward, however, to getting back in the composing groove this fall. I plan to continue creating and uploading music, videos and scores to the various platforms I’ve been using in the past in hopes of reaching those people who will enjoy it most. The next project I hope to finish is a series of tangos for piano, one for each month of the year, before setting my hand to some ambient music I’ve been toying with for a while.