Chatham University

Arts Management Faculty and Staff

Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd
Assistant Professor of Music
Hometown : Bel Air, MD
Joined Chatham : 2008

Academic Areas of Interest

Experimental music and improvisation; indeterminacy; creativity; site-specific, installation, and environmental art; sketch studies and analysis of post-1945 music (Reynolds, Nono); popular music analysis and criticism

Personal Areas of Interest

Road and mountain biking; bike commuting; rock climbing; hiking; vegan cooking; yoga

Personal Website : Visit Website


Michael Boyd is a composer, scholar, and experimental improviser who holds graduate degrees from the University of Maryland (DMA, composition) and SUNY Stony Brook (MA, music theory and history). His music has been performed throughout the United States in a variety of large and small venues. Boyd has published reviews in American Music, Computer Music Journal and Popular Music and Society, and his analytic essays on Roger Reynolds's music have appeared in Notes and Tempo. He has previously taught at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the University of Maryland, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Towson University, Frederick Community College, and SUNY Stony Brook. Boyd is the co-director and trombonist for the Bay Players Experimental Music Collective. His music has been reviewed/discussed in The Washington City Paper, Asymmetry Music Magazine and Art Anomaly.

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.