Eddie Ayres

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Eddie Ayres
Born 1967 (age 50–51)
Dover, England
Residence Brisbane, Australia
  • British
  • Australian
Other names Emma Ayres
Occupation Radio presenter, musician, teacher
Known for ABC Classic FM radio breakfast program, charity work, autobiographical books

Eddie Ayres (born 1967), formerly known as Emma Ayres, is a musician, music teacher and former radio presenter. He is notable for his work on the Australian ABC Classic FM radio station, as well as for his numerous charitable efforts.


Born in Dover, Ayres grew up in Shrewsbury, England.[1] He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and did further studies at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, where he received a DAAD scholarship, the Royal Academy in London, with the assistance of a Countess of Munster scholarship, and the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.[2]


Ayres was a professional viola player for 12 years—including eight years performing with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.[1] In 2001, he began presenting the classical music breakfast show on the Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) station in Hong Kong.[1]

Ayres moved from Hong Kong to Australia in February 2003,[1] living in Melbourne and cycling to work each day.[2]

From 4 February 2008, Ayres began presenting the Classic Breakfast program on ABC Classic FM.[3] In the same year, he taught at the Melbourne Girls Grammar School[1] and taught cello to a wide range of private students.[2] In 2012 Ayres appeared on Big Ideas Talking with Professor Andrew Schultz, composer and head of the school of Arts and the Media at UNSW, and music psychologist Associate Professor Emery Schubert, on insights into composition and emotional responses to music.[4]

Ayres published his memoir, Cadence: Travels with music - a memoir, in 2014.[5] In July 2014, as Emma, he appeared on the Musica Viva channel with an interview to camera: Chamber Music & Me.[6]

On 30 June 2014, Ayres announced that he would be leaving at the end of the year.[7] In October 2014, ABC FM radio's Classic Breakfast website announced that "After six years as the presenter ... Emma Ayres had chosen to hang up her headphones and move on to new adventures."[8] Ellen Fanning had been announced since September 2014 as Ayres' (temporary) successor. Lunchbox/Soapbox at the Wheeler Centre in January 2015 featured Emma Ayres presenting The Viola: A big violin, a small cello, or just a joke?[9]

In 2015, Ayres moved to Kabul where he began teaching violin, viola and cello at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.

In 2016, still as a (rather androgynous) woman, he gave an extended interview on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.[10]

In 2017, Ayres moved back to Australia, and now lives in Brisbane, teaching cello, violin and viola. In October Eddie spoke with Jon Faine at an event at the Wheeler Centre about his music and personal life and his 2017 book Danger Music.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Ayres received Australian citizenship in 2010.[13]

Ayres has been involved in a number of charitable efforts. In 2000, he raised money by making a twelve-month cycling trip from Shropshire in England to Hong Kong.[1][2] In 2011 he raised over $11,000 for the victims of the floods in Queensland by performing a number of public buskings in Sydney and Melbourne.

Gender transition[edit]

In 2016, in an interview with freelance journalist Danielle Moylan published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Ayres came out as a transgender man. He said that he had first realised he was a man during a cycling trip in Pakistan in 2013 in a "total beam of light" moment one evening while watching the film Boys Don't Cry. He said, "I've waited a long time to do this. I suppressed this for so long, now I feel I can't wait."[14] Ayres had written about gender several times in his 2014 memoir, Cadence: Travels with music - a memoir, narrating his experiences of being thought of as a man during his bicycle travels in countries such as Pakistan.[5]


Cadence: Travels with music - a memoir[edit]

Cadence is an autobiographical story of Ayres’ life and thoughts during his bicycle travels.[5] It is described in GoodReads as intercontinental cycling adventure, music guide, "provocative, intelligent, surprising and funny”. It tells the story of Emma cycling her way from England to Hong Kong with a violin strapped to her back. It is also a journey through the music that inspired her.[15] It was during this time Ayres decided she was destined to be a transgender man after watching the film Boys Don’t Cry.[16]

Danger Music[edit]

Danger Music, Allen & Unwin 2017[17] is an autobiographical account dealing with Ayres’ experiences and feelings during his time from early 2015 at Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music in Kabul, leading up to his decision to fully transition to male gender. By early 2016 at the age of 49, he'd had a double mastectomy. In his last three months in Afghanistan, after he returned from his mastectomy, he began living as a man, riding motorcycles around Kabul wearing blue jeans and a black leather jacket over a white T-shirt. The book ends back in Australia with Eddie’s first testosterone injection to initiate the chemical change to a man.[14] Danger Music was launched in Brisbane at the Avid Reader bookshop in West End on 27 September 2017.[18][19] On Friday 17 November he appeared at Avid Reader’s first Summer Reading Guide launch of the 2017 season, with author Robert Whyte (A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia) in presentations followed by a joint discussion.[20] Ayres wrote about Danger Music for The Guardian: Moving to a war zone was better than living with what was in my head appearing on Sunday 24 September 2017, essentially an except from the book (p. 5).[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Larry Schwartz (28 February 2008). "Tuning in to a classical act". TheAge. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Emma Ayres Presenter Notes". ABC Classic FM. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Music Details for Monday 4 February 2008". ABC Classic FM. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  4. ^ UNSWTV (2012-12-10), Music and Emotion, retrieved 2017-11-21 
  5. ^ a b c Nick Galvin (23 May 2014). "Emma Ayres' memoir an insight into classical mind". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  6. ^ Musica Viva Australia (2014-07-31), Chamber Music & Me - Emma Ayres, retrieved 2017-11-21 
  7. ^ https://twitter.com/EmmaAyresViola/status/483725447658610688
  8. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2014/10/08/4101727.htm
  9. ^ WheelerCentre (2015-01-26), Lunchbox/Soapbox: Emma Ayres on The Viola: A big violin, a small cello, or just a joke?, retrieved 2017-11-21 
  10. ^ The Weekly (2016-02-17), The Weekly: Emma Ayres [EXTENDED INTERVIEW], retrieved 2017-11-21 
  11. ^ "Event – Eddie Ayres: Danger Music". The Wheeler Centre. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  12. ^ WheelerCentre (2017-10-04), Eddie Ayres: Danger Music, retrieved 2017-11-21 
  13. ^ Harriet Lonnborn (22 November 2010). "Emma Ayres, Adam Elliot and Brendan Cowell—Australia's finest on display". 774 ABC Melbourne. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Danielle Moylan (9 September 2016). "Why Emma Ayres became Eddie Ayres". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Cadence". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  16. ^ Moylan, Danielle (2016-09-09). "Why Emma Ayres became Eddie Ayres". The Age. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  17. ^ Eddie,, Ayres, (2017). Danger music. [S.l.]: ALLEN & UNWIN. ISBN 9781760290696. OCLC 992222076. 
  18. ^ "Eddie Ayres - Danger Music". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  19. ^ "Danger Music by Eddie / Eadric Ayres - Avid Reader". avidreader.com.au. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  20. ^ "Summer Reading Guide - Launch #1 - Avid Reader". avidreader.com.au. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  21. ^ Ayres, Eddie (2017-09-23). "Moving to a war zone was better than living with what was in my head". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 

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