The music of William A.R. May (1988) has been described as "bold," "exciting," written with "attention to detail" & "tonal clarity." A youthful native of Atlanta, Georgia, this eclectic artist has already achieved much in the way of musical success.
Born into a musical family, William began his formal studies, at the age of 9. As a member of the Stephenson K-12 cluster of schools, in Dekalb County, Ga. one early instance of success occurred in 2006, when his composition "Jaguar Pride" was selected as the official Alma Mater of his high school (*). In 2010, William earned his Bachelor’s Degree in music from Columbus State University, studying composition with Dr. Alfred Cohen. He attained his Master’s Degree, in 2014, from Georgia State University, studying with Dr. Nickitas Demos (**). His early work, “Fanfare for Six Horns”, received its premier performance at his alma mater, Columbus State, before going on to become a 2nd place National Prizewinner in the 2009 Music Teachers National Association Competition for Young Composers (***).
Over the years, he has written music for a number of venues, including music festivals, recitals, competitions, workshops, and weddings; today, his music continues to receive performances throughout the United States, and around the world. In December of 2021, William was commissioned by Dr. Shauna Thompson, Dr. Corey Mackey, & Texas Christian University, to premier an original work entitled “On Paper: Duo for Flute & Clarinet” at the 2022 Texas Music Educator’s Association Convention, in San Antonio, TX. A moment of particular significance occurred in April 2022, as William had the honor of conducting the Master’s Recital of one of his earliest childhood mentors/music instructors: Grammy-Nominated Composer & Performer, Rick Callier. Currently, he is writing for performers & educators alike, such as Dr. Jerome Stover (Tuba) & Dr. Isrea Butler (Trombone), along with an upcoming major commission with Clarinetist Mark Allen, Co-sponsored by the Memphis Black Arts Alliance.
In addition to composing, William’s skills as an arranger and orchestrator remain highly sought-after, along the Eastern coast. He has arranged a number of pieces for chamber ensemble, orchestra, wind band, marching band, Jazz Band, and Gospel choir. In 2017, William made his first foray into writing music for film, creating incidental music for a “practice reel” sample of the film “2012” (directed by Roland Emmerich). In 2018, he created an arrangement of Oscar-Winner Ludwig Göransson’s opening theme to the Marvel film “Black Panther” (Directed by Ryan Coogler), entitled "Fanfare Wakanda," for marching band. Additionally, he was commissioned, in 2019, by Maestro T.C. Spivey Hall & the Klarigarden Honors Ensemble to create an arrangement of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” for Harp, Clarinet Choir, and Soprano.
Educationally, William possesses significant teaching experience, both in and out of the classroom. Particularly, he has had the opportunity to work with at-risk youth, & exceptional children, in Title I School Programs, servicing primarily communities of color, during his tenure. Substantial opportunities for growth and success have followed: in 2019, as Director of Choral Activities, for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School (Stonecrest, GA), his Concert Chorale traveled to the State Capital to perform Damon Dandridge’s “I Know I’ve Been Changed” for the Governor of Georgia. The following school year, William had the distinction of co-leading the Mighty Lion “Kings Of Halftime” Band of the same school, as they marched proudly down the streets of New York City, performing Beyonce’s “Homecoming” tunes, at the 2019 NBC Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, broadcast live to an audience of over 40 million viewers. Inspired by these and other experiences, William continues to find opportunities to connect and work with youth & young adults, in a variety of settings, including teaching Sunday School, at his church.
In 2016, William founded and established the WARMAY Music Company (formerly WARM Productions), a business focused in the areas of music creation, publishing, & pedagogy. Through this company, he has spearheaded a number of artistic initiatives, including shepherding the production of the award-winning (****) album “Trust & Believe” with Atlanta-based Gospel Music artist, Chris Brunson, collaborating with Emily Schuster and the Children's Trust Fund of Lansing, Michigan (wherein his music was featured at the State Capital, to begin the 2022 C.A.P.A.D. Rally), as well as writing & producing his debut EP entitled “Moments” (Released, Fall 2019). WARMAY Co. has serviced hundreds of clients throughout the world, since its inception, and continues to establish itself today as a reliable supplier of quality musical content, for a 21st Century marketplace.
With a net viewership of over 1,000,000 listeners to his music, online and through various forms of social media, William continues to build his brand, working alongside his colleagues, to increase the collective visibility (and viability, fiscally or otherwise) of composers of color, both within the United States, and abroad. Most of all, he hopes to continue mentoring young artists & professionals, lighting a pathway that other composers (particularly ones of color) may follow, if they so choose.
* - William credits his high school band director, Mr. Nelson Render, as a major influence in his decision to pursue music, professionally.
** - His former horn & composition teacher's include William Capps, Kristen Hansen, Brian Robison, Rick Callier, David Ludwig, Sheridan Seyfried, and Stephen Cabell.
*** - "Fanfare For Six Horns": This work subsequently received a virtual recording in 2022, by John Turman, of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
**** - “Trust & Believe - Live in Atlanta”: This album has become the recipient of a number of competitive awards, including the 25th Annual Gospel Choice Music Awards (3 Categories):
● CD Project Of Year, "Trust & Believe (Live)"
● New Artist Of The Year, Chris Brunson & Anointed
● Song Of The Year, "I Survived"
It also received a nomination for the 2019 Independent Recording Artist and Arts Awards, in the Category of:
● “Best Traditional Group Or Duo”
David A. White, Composer
Dr. Henry Panion, Composer
Richard Smallwood, Pianist, Songwriter & Composer
"Awesome Addition to the Repertoire"
John Turman, Seattle Symphony
Mervyn Warren, "Take Six"