Composer Peter Boyer to Receive Ellis Island Medal of Honor

The Ellis Island Honors Society announces that AFM Local 47 member Peter Boyer will be among the recipients of the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Ellis Island Medals of Honor are presented annually to a select group of individuals whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are cause for celebration. The Medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of our nation’s most prestigious awards, and is annually memorialized in the Congressional Record.

Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 500 public performances by more than 150 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad.

The letter from the EIHS notifying Boyer of his selection for the Medal of Honor specifically cited “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” and its PBS Great Performances production with the Pacific Symphony. This major work, composed for actors and orchestra, has become one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last 15 years, with over 200 performances by more than 90 orchestras since its 2002 premiere. Boyer’s recording of “Ellis Island” on the Naxos American Classics label was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The PBS national broadcast premiere took place in June 2018, with subsequent telecasts anticipated through 2020.

In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. In recent years, his skills as an orchestrator have been increasingly in demand. He has contributed orchestrations to more than 35 feature film scores from all the major movie studios for many of the world’s leading Hollywood composers including James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, the late James Horner, Alan Menken, Mark Isham, Heitor Pereira, Harry Gregson-Williams, and Aaron Zigman. Boyer also was an orchestrator for Pixar in Concert, which has been performed by major orchestras worldwide, and for Horner’s “Titanic Live.” Boyer has arranged music for two Academy Awards telecasts, and composed music for The History Channel. His music has appeared in documentary films, short films, and — through the A&E Networks Production Music Library — a wide variety of television programs.

The 34th annual Ellis Island Medal of Honor gala event will take place on May 11 at Ellis Island. The group of medalists will include former Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Congressman Adam Schiff, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Paula Abdul, Robert Nederlander Jr., and composer Tan Dun, among others. They, along with other accomplished Americans, will gather in the Great Hall, the original registry room which served as the gateway for 12 million immigrants to the U.S., for the annual Ellis Island Medals of Honor black-tie gala, where they will receive and celebrate their award in the light of the Statue of Liberty.

Since the Ellis Island Medal of Honor was founded in 1986, it has been awarded to distinguished and diverse Americans, including seven Presidents of the United States. Past Medalists have included Vice President Joseph Biden, Senators John Glenn and John McCain, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and William Rehnquist, Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

Other notable Medalists have included Buzz Aldrin, Muhammad Ali, Hon. Hillary Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Joe DiMaggio, Kirk Douglas, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Eisner, Gloria Estefan, Renée Fleming, Lee Iaccoca, Quincy Jones, Rita Moreno, Arnold Palmer, Rosa Parks, Gregory Peck, Itzhak Perlman, Chita Rivera, Martin Scorcese, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Eli Wallach, and Barbara Walters, among many others.

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