Dr. McGregor Boyle

Dr. McGregor Boyle(D.M.A., M.M., Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, B.M., University of South Carolina)
Computer Music Faculty
Technical Director, Peabody Computer Music Consort


Dr. McGregor Boyle is active as a composer, performer, and music educator with a primary interest in digital media and computer applications to music composition and performance. With a Master’s degree in guitar performance and a Doctorate in composition, Dr. Boyle is uniquely qualified to explore the applications of emerging digital technologies to the difficult problems posed by serious music composition, and its presentation to the audience in performance.

The recipient of many prizes and awards for his composition, Boyle is especially interested in collaborations with artists from other disciplines, from work with choreographers and visual artists to his more recent scores for outdoor laser and fireworks spectacles. He was the composer of the music for the pioneering multimedia performance piece Red Zone, which combined digital sound with computer-controlled visual images, modern dance, and spoken word to create a seamless integrated whole which was highly acclaimed by audiences and critics in 1987.

Dr. Boyle is on the Computer Music Faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches computer applications to music. He was awarded the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in May 2008.


Selected Compositions

Vocalise (2011) coloratura soprano and computer. Comissioned by soprano Bonnie Lander, Vocalise received its world premiere at La Esquina in Kansas City, Missouri on a program sponsored by the Kansas City Electronic Music Alliance on March 18, 2011.

As it Was: Nine Characteristic Pieces (2007) violin, piano and computer. Commissioned by violinist Courtney Orlando and pianist Ken Osowski, As it Was is a meditation on the stories and histories of the nine historic houses on Pawleys Island, South Carolina. It received its world premiere on the Evolution Series at An Die Musik Live in Baltimore, Maryland on January 29, 2008.

Yahaney Inlet (2007) bass and computer. Commissioned by bassist Jeffrey Weisner. A companion piece to Midway InletYahaney Inlet explores the darker side of the southern tidal marsh. It received its world premiere at Peabody on April 11, 2008. It was also featured on the 2009 SEAMUS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is on that year’s SEAMUS CD.

The Grey Man (2006) ‘cello, bass and computer. Commissioned by the Peabody Conservatory in celebration of its 150th anniversary, this piece is inspired by ghost stories of the South Carolina low country. The Grey Man was premiered on the New Music: Now and Then faculty chamber music concert on January 30, 2007 by Michael Kannen and Michael Formanek.

Midway Inlet (2006) clarinet and computer. Commissioned by clarenetist F. Gerrarde Errante, this piece celebrates the sound and mood of a southern tidal marsh. Midway Inlet received its world premiere at the 2008 SEAMUS conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

August Occasion (2005) tape. Winner of the Electroclips Contest sponsored by SEAMUS to celebrate its 20th anniversary. August Occasion received its world premiere at the 2006 SEAMUS Conference in Eugene, Oregon.

Improbable Histories (2004) brass sextet and computer. A short fanfare commissioned by the Peabody Conservatory to celebrate its Grand Re-opening in April, 2004.

Forever August (2003) computer installation. A re-working of the materials used for August Nights, Forever August is a continuous multi-channel sound installation.

Pepper (2002) tape. A brief, humorous piece based on sounds made by our new, extremely vocal beagle. Pepper received its premiere at the 2004 SEAMUS conference in San Diego, and its international premiere at the 2008 ICMC in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

August Nights (2001) tape. Created primarily from sound materials left over from the creation of Windfall II, this recording provides a slowly shifting landscape of electronic sound. August Nights received its world premiere at the 2002 SEAMUS Conference in Iowa City, Iowa on April 2002, and was premiered internationally at the 2003 ICMC in Singapore. There is also a video version.

Windfall II: Days of August (2001) for flute and computer. An interactive work which combines sounds made by members of my family with real-time processing of the live flute.

Landfall II: Flaming Skull (2000) for MIDI guitar and computer. An interactive work which evokes the rythmn and energy of the rituals of the rural south. Sounds recorded in Chester County, South Carolina provide the basis for many of the sounds, and lend an aura of mystery to the music. Landfall II: Flaming Skull received its premiere at the 2003 SEAMUS Conference in Tempe Arizona in March 2003.

Pigwind I, II, and III (2000) tape. Created with the use of an “ambience generator” application developed for the realization of Landfall II, these tape pieces explore various aspects and atmospheres of the mysterious side of the rural south.

Autumn (1998) for SATB chamber chorus and computer. A brief meditation on the change of the season, set to a computer-generated text. The singers voices are processed in real time, providing an evocative acompaniment.

Nightfall: the Lookout (1997) for MIDI wind controller, computer, and interactive electronics. The first in a proposed series of works based on the sounds of the composer’s native South Carolina. Nightfall: The Lookout received its premiere at the SEAMUS conference in San Jose, California in March 1999. It was later featured at the 1999 International Computer Music Conference in Beijing, China.

Nationsbank Comes to Baltimore (1994) In collaboration with composer Mark Weiser. Commissioned by the P.W. Feats Company and Nationsbank, to celebrate the restoration and re-lighting of the Nationsbank building in downtown Baltimore. The single performance featured computer- controlled lasers and lights, banners and spotlights projected on and around the historic building in a performance which could be seen and heard for miles.

Fanfares (1993) For two trumpets (or trumpet and horn) and electronics. Commissioned by the Peabody Computer Music Consort to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Electronic Music Studio.

In Tandem (1991) Commissioned by the Phoenix Repertory Dance Company at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and created in collaboration with them. A duet for two female dancers with digital music.

Red Zone (1987) A collaboration with choreographer Juliet Forrest, visual artist Howard Ehrenfeld, and writer John Strausbaugh combines digital sound, music, dance, computer-controlled visual images, spoken word, poetry, and storytelling into a seamless integrated whole which critics found compelling and revolutionary. After a partial premiere at the Kennedy Center in 1985 the work was completed and given its full premiere in Baltimore in 1987.

Bells (1985) An experiment in computer-assisted composition which has been performed many times and in a wide variety of venues. Bells received its international premiere at the 1997 International Computer Music Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Selected Writings and Publications:

Boyle, M., and G. D. Wright. Electronic and Computer Music at the Peabody Conservatory. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, November 2004.

Boyle, M., I. Fujinaga, and G. D. Wright. Electronic and Computer Music at the Peabody Conservatory. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, September 1998.

Boyle, M., J. E. Ivey, G. D. Wright, and E. Pirali. Electronic and Computer Music at the Peabody Conservatory. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, September 1991.

Boyle M. Red Zone: A Multimedia Work with Music, Dance, Text., and Visuals. D.M.A. Dissertation, Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, 1990.

Boyle, M. Sound Synthesis: an Overview. Invited lecture to the Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music at the University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium, 1989.

Boyle, M. and J. Strausbaugh. Red Zone. Soundtrack recording. Dolphin-Moon records, 1988.

Over 45 Years of Looking to the Future