Composer Spotlight: Michael Boyman

TCS resident composer and violist Michael Boyman is the recipient of the BMI William Schuman Award and was featured in the 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. He received his Master's Degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied privately with Richard Danielpour. 

On Friday and Saturday, March 6 & 7, TCS members Emily Wong and Jessica Santiago will present the world premiere of Boyman’s Double Concerto for Two Horns and Wind Ensemble.


TCS: Tell us a little something fun about yourself that isn’t in your bio?

MB: In June I’ll be a dad!

TCS: What has been the funniest onstage moment you’ve seen or have experienced?

MB: Playing in the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall and having the guest soloist do an unplanned strip tease on stage… it was the premiere of a contemporary piece and the orchestra was unflappable even while we looked on, aghast.

TCS: When was your first TCS concert? What brought you to the group?

MB: I started as a guest composer having won TCS’s first composition competition in 2015.  I mentioned that I played viola and would love to join the string section if ever needed, and the rest is history!

TCS: Do you have any favorite TCS memories?

MB: Traveling to Rikers Island with the orchestra, fitting the timpani through security gates, and playing a great concert for a large group of inmates was a highlight.  And it’s hard to beat playing in the Natural History Museum under the Blue Whale…

Editor's note: Mike premiered his piece The Howling Wilderness at the American Natural History Museum's Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life alongside Alan Hovhaness' And God Created Great Whales and John Luther Adams' Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean at the AMNH EarthFest celebration in April 2018.

TCS: What keeps you coming back to play with TCS?

MB: The high performance standards and sense of camaraderie.  I’ve made a lot of friends in the orchestra, and there’s nothing better than playing great music with friends for an appreciative audience.

TCS: Who are your favorite musicians, past and/or present?

MB: Mozart is one of my favorite composers, and his remarkable writing for woodwinds is an inspiration for this piece.  I’m also a fan of conductor George Szell, who made some amazing recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra in the 1950’s and 60’s.  I was introduced to a lot of classical music by listening to these recordings, and Szell’s combination of precision and passion remain touchstone interpretations for me.  He may not have been the nicest guy, but as a conductor he’s hard to beat!

TCS: What do you carry with you in your instrument case?

MB: Viola, backup strings, chocolate and a good book.

TCS: Why did you choose to perform this piece with TCS?

MB: Emily and Jess asked me to write this piece for them, and the March concert series is the world premiere!

TCS: What are some things you learned while preparing? Did anything about the piece surprise you?

MB: I’ve learned so much while writing this piece and rehearsing it with Jess and Emily.  The horn is a different animal to play than any string instrument, requiring a huge amount of endurance.  Through working with the soloists and consulting with conductor Matt Aubin (himself a horn player), I’ve learned how to write more idiomatically for the horn and to better balance the solo horns with the orchestra.

TCS: Do you have a favorite recording of this piece?

MB: Yes, the one being made during this performance!


Join us on Friday and Saturday, March 6 & 7, at 8pm, at St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church at 315 W. 22nd Street, for the world premiere of Michael Boyman’s Double Concerto for Two Horns and Wind Ensemble!