Peter Boyer, Helen M. Smith Chair in Music

B.A., Rhode Island College; M.M., D.M.A., The Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford; Graduate Certificate, University of Southern California; Doctor of Music (Honorary), Rhode Island College

Professor Peter Boyer

Peter Boyer has emerged in recent years as one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His orchestral works have received over 300 public performances, by more than 100 orchestras, and numerous national broadcasts in the U.S. and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with two of the world’s finest orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia. He has received seven national awards for his work, including two BMI Awards for young composers, the First Music Carnegie Hall commission, and the Lancaster Symphony Composer’s Award.

Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy. Acclaimed actors Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Cherry Jones narrated the premiere of Boyer’s The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers in May 2010, which was attended by many members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention. Boyer’s work was the centerpiece of the TV special An American Salute: The Boston Pops at 125, produced and broadcast by WCVB-TV, Boston’s ABC affiliate, which won a Boston/New England Emmy Award. The Boston Pops released a commercial recording of Kennedy Brothers, and performed it as part of their annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on the Charles River Esplanade, which was telecast on WBZ-TV, Boston’s CBS affiliate. The Boston Pops also performed the work at the Tanglewood Music Festival with narrator Alec Baldwin, and at Hyannis Port with narrator Chris Cooper.

Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya appointed Boyer as the 2010-11 Composer-in-Residence for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and led 10 performances of his works during that season. Conductor Gerard Schwarz commissioned and premiered Boyer’s Festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Eastern Music Festival in 2011. Boyer’s music has been performed by the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Nashville, Pacific, Phoenix, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Kansas City, Virginia, Hartford, Toledo, Richmond, Grand Rapids, Elgin, Rhode Island, Portland, Winston-Salem, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Sarasota, Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne, Greenville, Bamberg, Belgrade, the New York Youth Symphony, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, and many others. The Pasadena Symphony appointed Boyer as its 2012-13 Composer-in-Residence and commissioned his Symphony No. 1 to close that season; he guest conducted that orchestra for its premiere.

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. Premiered in 2002, the work has received over 140 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 was released by Naxos in its American Classics Series in 2005, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations (orchestral arrangements) to more than 20 Hollywood film scores, from studios including Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Disney, Pixar, Universal Pictures, Sony/Columbia Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Lionsgate/Marvel, Intrepid Pictures, and Relativity Media. Boyer has orchestrated music for several of Hollywood’s top composers, including Thomas Newman (the James Bond film Skyfall), James Horner (The Amazing Spider-Man), Michael Giacchino (the Oscar-winning Up, Star Trek, Cars 2, Super 8, John Carter, Mission: Impossible III, Speed Racer), Mark Isham (Dolphin Tale, The Conspirator), Harry Gregson-Williams (Arthur Christmas), and the late Michael Kamen (Open Range, First Daughter, Against the Ropes). Boyer orchestrated suites from the scores to Toy Story 3 (Randy Newman) and Wall-E (Thomas Newman) for Pixar in Concert, a live event produced by Disney/Pixar, premiered by the San Francisco Symphony and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and being performed worldwide. Boyer has twice arranged and orchestrated music for the Academy Awards, including the 2009 telecast. He scored episodes of the TV series Engineering an Empire for The History Channel. For more information, please visit

Peter Boyer will be on sabbatical leave for the 2013-14 academic year.

Professor Peter Boyer
Music Department
School of Arts and Humanities
Claremont Graduate University
925 N. Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont, CA  91711
Tel.: 909.607.7546
Fax: 909.607.3694

2014 Claremont Graduate University Music Department Stauffer Hall of Learning 925 N. Dartmouth Ave., Claremont, CA 91711 (909) 621-3289