Grammy-nominated PETER BOYER is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received more than 400 public performances by over 150 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. 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.
Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, for actors and orchestra, has become one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years, with over 170 performances by 75 orchestras since its 2002 premiere. Boyer’s recording of Ellis Island on the Naxos American Classics label was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. In 2017, Ellis Island was filmed live in concert with the Pacific Symphony, conductor Carl St.Clair, and a cast of stage and screen actors for PBS’ Great Performances, America’s preeminent performing arts television series. The PBS national broadcast premiere will be in early 2018, with subsequent telecasts over the following three years.
Many of America’s most prominent orchestras have performed Boyer’s music, including the Boston Pops, Cleveland Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Phoenix Symphony, with upcoming performances by the Colorado Symphony and the National Symphony at the U.S. Capitol. His music has been performed by many leading American conductors, including Gerard Schwarz, Keith Lockhart, Carl St.Clair, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, John Morris Russell, Thomas Wilkins, Brett Mitchell, David Charles Abell, and Robert Moody. Boyer’s music has been recorded for Naxos American Classics, BSO Classics, Koch International Classics, Albany, FWSO Live, and Fanfare Cincinnati. His most recent recording, featuring his Symphony No. 1 and four other works with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under his direction, was released by Naxos in 2014.
Boyer’s Silver Fanfare has been the opening work of the last three Hollywood Bowl seasons (2015-17), in sold-out performances featuring the iconic rock bands Journey, Steely Dan, and The Moody Blues. In 2015, Boyer conducted shows for multi-platinum recording artist Josh Groban on his Stages tour.
In 2010, Boyer was chosen for the Boston Pops’ 125th anniversary commission, honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. Boyer’s The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers was narrated by actors including Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin; and received ten performances, two telecasts, and a commercial recording. The premiere of Boyer’s work was attended by many members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention.
Boyer’s music has been performed in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall (six works, two premieres) and The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center, Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl and Royce Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Dallas’ Meyerson Symphony Center, Cincinnati’s Music Hall, and Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Concert Hall; and has been recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios (two albums) and AIR Studios. He has served as Composer-in-Residence of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (2010-11) and the Pasadena Symphony (2012-13). His work has been profiled and/or reviewed in the Associated Press, USA TODAY, Variety, CNN.com, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Orange County Register, Symphony Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, and many others.
Boyer has conducted performances with orchestras including the Pasadena Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Rhode Island Philharmonic, as well as recording sessions in London and Los Angeles. He has also served as assistant/cover conductor for The Lord of the Rings in Concert.
In addition to his concert hall work, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations (orchestral arrangements) to more than 30 feature film scores from all the major movie studios, for leading Hollywood composers including Michael Giacchino (Jurassic World, Inside Out, Star Trek, Up, Cars 2, Mission: Impossible III), James Newton Howard (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2), Thomas Newman (Finding Dory, the James Bond film Skyfall), the late James Horner (The Amazing Spider-Man, Living in the Age of Airplanes), Alan Menken (Mirror Mirror), Mark Isham (Dolphin Tale, The Conspirator), and Harry Gregson-Williams (Arthur Christmas). He also was an orchestrator for Pixar in Concert, which has been performed by major orchestras worldwide. Boyer has twice arranged music for the Academy Awards, and composed music for The History Channel. His music has appeared in documentary film, short films, and a variety of television programs.
Boyer holds degrees from Rhode Island College (BA), which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004, and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford (MM, DMA), which named him Alumnus of the Year in 2002. He also studied privately with John Corigliano, and completed the Film and Television Scoring program at the USC Thornton School of Music, where his teachers included Elmer Bernstein. Boyer holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University.