Peter Boyer is a name you’ve probably heard. A contemporary American composer, Boyer’s works are frequently performed by major orchestras across the globe, and often heard on classical radio stations, including WGUC! It’s likely you’ve heard his “Silver Fanfare” on 90.9 – this popular work comes from Boyer’s larger piece On Music’s Wings that he wrote for the Pacific Symphony. The “Silver Fanfare” movement can stand alone, and was later chosen to open the 2015 and 2016 Hollywood Bowl.
Boyer began work as a composer at the young age of 15. His first major work was a Requiem Mass written in memory of his grandma. Since then, he’s studied with many renowned composers including John Corigliano and Elmer Bernstein. It certainly makes sense that he spent time under learning from Bernstein since Boyer is also now quite active in the film and TV music industry. He has contributed orchestrations for about 30 Hollywood films including work done for Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, James Horner, Alan Menken, and more. In addition to his work as a composer, Boyer conducts in his spare time! He’s been seen leading the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Hartford Symphony, and the Pasadena Symphony – just to name a few!
One of Boyer’s more major works that you perhaps might not be as familiar with is his Ellis Island: The Dream of America. This piece is for actors and orchestra and celebrates the American immigrant experience. Part of the performance includes projections of historical images from Ellis Island archives. The spoken portions come from real interviews with immigrants. Boyer worked to create monologues surrounded by complementary music. This piece was so successful that it was nominated for a Grammy award in 2006!