Photo: Lisa Boyd

Photo: Lisa Boyd


Michael Boyd is a composer, scholar, and experimental improvisor.  Currently Associate Professor of Music at Chatham University, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Maryland (DMA, composition) and SUNY Stony Brook (MA, music theory). Boyd's music embraces experimental practices such as installation, multimedia, and performance art, and has been performed in a variety of venues throughout the United States and abroad.  As a scholar he has focused on recent experimental and avant garde practices, particularly Roger Reynolds's music.  Boyd has published articles in Perspectives of New Music, Tempo, and Notes, as well as review essays in Computer Music Journal, Popular Music & Society, and American Music.

Active in his community, Boyd has been an elected member of the Wilkins Township Board of Commissions since 2012 where he works on issues including transportation, waste reduction, and public safety.  An active cyclists, he often bikes to work, periodically competes in mountain bike races, and advocates for bicycle and pedestrian improvements at work and in his community.  Boyd was Bike Pittsburgh's 2012 Advocate of the year and was included in Pittsburgh Magazine's 2013 "40 Under 40."


Artistic Statement

I believe that every individual possesses significant innate creativity, but, for various reasons, rarely access this valuable personal resource. As a composer, one of my foremost concerns is countering this societal trend by helping individuals connect with and use their inner creativity. One way in which I address this issue is by (re)integrating performers into the creative portion of the music making process through graphic notation which immediately sheds many conventions of Western art music including the primacy of pitch and a roughly one-to-one correspondence between score input and sonic output. In addition to enabling non-specialists and musicians with lesser technical facility to offer viable or “accurate” performances, graphic scores provide greater creative agency to performers essentially resulting in an equal partnership between composer and performer(s). This configuration, paired with my interest in other experimental practices such as the incorporation of visual and theatrical elements, performance-based installation, live electronics and performance art, confronts many musical conventions and thus engages audience members in new ways, often presenting an experience that is both engaging and challenging.