PETER BOYER (b 1970 )
Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation, with over 300 performances of his works by more than 100 orchestras. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. His music has received numerous national broadcasts in the US and abroad, and he has garnered seven national awards for his work.
Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. The première of Boyer’s Kennedy Brothers in 2010, narrated by Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris, was attended by members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive media attention. The Boston Pops also telecast the work, performed it at the Tanglewood Music Festival with narrator Alec Baldwin, and released its recording.
Orchestras which have performed Boyer’s music include the Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Virginia Symphony, and Hartford Symphony, among many others. In recent seasons, Boyer has served as composer-in-residence of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (2010–11) and the Pasadena Symphony (2012–13).
Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America for actors and orchestra, which celebrates the historic American immigrant experience, has been his most successful composition to date. Premièred in 2002, the work has received over 150 live performances by more than 60 orchestras, making it one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last decade. Boyer’s recording of this work on the Naxos label (8.559246) was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
Boyer’s most recent Naxos recording (8.559769), in which he conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, features his highly approachable, lyrical and rhythmically-charged Symphony No. 1. The recording entered the Billboard Classical Charts in its release week.
In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations to more than 20 film scores by top Hollywood composers including Thomas Newman, James Horner, Michael Giacchino, Alan Menken, Mark Isham and Harry Gregson-Williams. Boyer has twice arranged music for the Academy Awards telecasts and composed music for The History Channel.
Boyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhode Island College, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. He then studied privately with composer John Corigliano in New York and moved to Los Angeles to study film and TV scoring at the USC Thornton School of Music where his teachers included the late Elmer Bernstein. Boyer has taught since 1996 at Claremont Graduate University where he holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music.