February 17, 2016

Pacific Symphony to perform music Prof. Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) music Professor Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America will be performed by the Pacific Symphony as the centerpiece of its annual American Composers Festival in April 2017. The festival will showcase Boyer’s work alongside that of renowned California composers John Adams and Frank Ticheli, with violin soloist Tracy Silverman, in a program conducted by Pacific Symphony’s Music Director Carl St. Clair.

Peter Boyer
Peter Boyer (Photo: Danika Singfield)

“The list of composers that have been featured in these festivals is simply stunning,” said Boyer, a Grammy Award-nominated composer and CGU’s Helen M. Smith Chair in Music. “I am humbled to have my work sharing the program with John Adams and Frank Ticheli, two giants of contemporary American composition. It is both an honor and a thrill.”

Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received nearly 400 public performances by more than 125 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad.

Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America for actors and orchestra, celebrates the hopes and experiences of seven immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island between 1910 and 1940.

Ellis Island has been Boyer’s most successful composition to date. Premiered in 2002, the work has received over 160 live performances by 70 orchestras. Boyer’s recording of Ellis Island on the Naxos American Classics label was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 2006.

“Over the years, it has been immensely gratifying to me that so many have found Ellis Island to be a moving and uplifting experience; and it is my hope that this will be the case with Pacific Symphony audiences,” Boyer said.

The American Composers Festival, in its 17th year, is scheduled for April 6-9, 2017 at the symphony’s home, the RenĂ©e and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif.

This latest honor follows several other high-profile highlights from Boyer’s career. Boyer’s Silver Fanfare was featured during the opening night at Southern California’s legendary Hollywood Bowl in June 2015, which had superstar rock band Journey as the headliner for the evening. In the summer of 2013, Boyer conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the world’s leading orchestras, in recording sessions at the historic Abbey Road Studio One.

In 2010, Boyer was commissioned by the Boston Pops to compose a work celebrating the legacy of the Kennedy brothers, which was narrated by acclaimed actors Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris, attended by members of the Kennedy family, and telecast.