facultydetails | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Visual Arts Faculty and Staff

Michael Boyd

Michael Boyd

Associate 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; hiking; vegan cooking; yoga

Personal Website : Visit 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 and abroad in a variety of large and small venues. Boyd has published articles in Notes, Tempo, and Perspectives of New Music as well as reviews in American Music, Computer Music Journal and Popular Music and Society. He 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.

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.