Denise Ayres, raised in Los Angeles, began studying piano from the age of two and violin from the age of eight. She performed in concerts from the age of nine. She was guided through a competitive field of chamber music and professional solo training through high school. Ballet, swimming and diving and orchestral experience were part of her artistic training.
Concomitant to a liberal arts program, Ms. Ayres studied full-body movement in the form of cycling, scuba-diving, parachuting, and modern dance. She began a yoga practice that has spanned 40 years. She received a degree in Music, Movement and Philosophy. She continued her education to become a Certified Movement Analyst. Joining the New York Philharmonic, Ms. Ayres experienced varied conducting styles and reinforced her knowledge of the connection between music and movement. She furthers her knowledge of tone production through profound reflection on the spatially dynamic geometries inherent in the structure of the instrument.
Ms. Ayres’ approach enables students to loosen and expand. It diffuses difficulty in playing. Students, from youngsters to elders, are often surprised at how their ease in playing comes to the fore. Ms. Ayres is consistently cited as playing "as though the instrument is part of her body". This is a dimension she applies in her teaching: the normalization of fun and lightness through movement awareness.