Kota Hayton (b. 1997) is a composer, vocalist, and sound artist based in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the UMKC Conservatory in 2019, a student of Dr. Paul Rudy and Dr. Chen Yi. He is interested in the intersections of various art mediums, working with poets, painters, video artists, filmmakers, and choreographers. His music has been performed at the 2017 University of Tulsa Bela Rozsa Composition Competition, the 2019 UMKC Chamber Music Composition Competition, the Walden School’s Creative Musician’s Retreat, New Music on the Point, and the Drugstore. Sound sculpture installations have been shown at the Drugstore.
Kota is currently exploring the similarities between our experiences of sounds and emotions. In a series of works, he is taking the structure of a sound’s amplitude envelope and applying it to an emotional experience, tracing its onset, decay, sustain, and release. The three works—in Fire by MoonLight, Let your body soften… (breathe out), and what I see now, is Lights and an Open door—track the envelopes of vulnerability, acceptance, and optimism.
Kota enjoys performing in choirs, small chamber ensembles, and with electronics. He currently sings with KC VITAs, a professional choir dedicated to performing music by living composers. On their 2018 Summer Series album, he is featured as a soloist for the art song “You” by Yimin Wu. He has premiered several new works as a soloist and in the chamber choir at the Walden School's Creative Musician's Retreat in both 2017 and 2018. At the same program in 2018, he was the narrator and vocalist for Frederic Rzewski's "Coming Together" and "Attica.” As a performer of electronic music, he improvises as a soloist and in groups with his voice and Max MSP.
Kota likes clouds, baking bread, Indian food, and playing with his cat.