“Peter Boyer’s Celebration Overture exploded with energy.”
The Star Press (Indiana)

Celebration Overture was one of Peter Boyer’s earliest orchestral commissions, celebrating the opening of the Henry Mancini Institute in 1997, when he was just 27. It has gone on to become one of his most performed works. Boyer recorded it twice at Abbey Road Studios: the original version on his debut recording with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2001, and the revised version on his Naxos recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. Celebration Overture has become quite popular on American classical radio, with both of Boyer’s recordings, and a live recording by Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra released in 2012, receiving a combined total of thousands of broadcasts over many stations. It is a particular favorite on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall channel.

Instrumentation

2.picc.2.3(III=bcl).2—4.4.4(IVopt).1—timp.perc(3)—harp—pft—strings

Duration

6:30

Composition Date and Commission

Composed 1997; Revised 2001
Commissioned by the American Jazz Philharmonic for the inaugural season of its Henry Mancini Institute

Critical Acclaim

“Boyer’s stated reverence for film composers…is clearly palpable in Celebration Overture. The opening Korngoldian fanfare for four trumpets has an epic silver-screen sumptuousness. This is a marvelous curtain-raiser…”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“The sparkling Celebration Overture…composed by Peter Boyer, lit up the stage with musical pyrotechnics…”
Kalamazoo Gazette

“Peter Boyer’s exuberant Celebration Overture [is] a winner of a piece, heavy on brass and percussion, with great rhythmic vitality and a contrasting pensive middle section with caressing strings.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“With a rousing Celebration Overture by American composer Peter Boyer, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra launched its 2010-11 season… Boyer is the FWSO’s composer-in-residence this season. His 7-minute overture, dating from 1997, seems to be channeling Leonard Bernstein. Excited brassy fanfares give way to a stately section spun out of a three-note motif introduced by horns. That motif is later expanded into a romantic oboe solo over deep-plush strings and harp. A reprise of the opening fanfares brings the piece to a dazzling coda.”
The Dallas Morning News

View Performance History

– Premiered by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, with members of the American Jazz Philharmonic, Peter Boyer, conductor, at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, August 16, 1997
– Performed by the Wheeling Symphony, Rachael Worby, conductor, November 19, 1998
– Performed by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Peter Boyer, conductor, at Royce Hall, UCLA, August 13, 2000
– Performed by the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, Rachael Worby, conductor, August 24 & 25, 2001
– Performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Richard Kaufman, conductor, at Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, January 11, 12 & 13, 2002
– Performed by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Raymond Harvey, conductor, April 19, 2002
– Performed by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Atherton, conductor, September 22, 2002
– Performed by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Gerald Steichen, conductor, July 2 & 3, 2004
– Performed by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor, October 16, 2004
– Performed by the Huntington (West Virginia) Symphony Orchestra, Kimo Furumoto, conductor, June 25, 2005
– Performed by the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Robin Fountain, conductor, November 29, 2006
– Performed by the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Robin Fountain, conductor, on tour in China (performances in seven cities), December 2006–January 2007
– Performed by the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Golan, conductor, June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 2007
– Performed by the Williamsport (Penn.) Symphony Orchestra, Robin Fountain, conductor, July 15 & 30, 2007
– Performed by the Phoenix Symphony, Lawrence Golan, conductor, May 25, 2008
– Performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor, at Bass Hall, Fort Worth, September 10, 11 & 12, 2010
– Performed by the Laredo Philharmonic, Brendan Townsend, conductor, October 28, 2012
– Performed by the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York, Phil Preddice, conductor, at Carnegie Hall, New York City, May 4, 2014
– Performed by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Steven Larsen, conductor, July 3, 2015
– Performed by the Waco Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Heyde, conductor, March 19, 2016
– To be performed by the Kansas City Symphony, conductor Aram Demirjian, at “Symphony in the Flint Hills,” June 11, 2016

– Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra premiere broadcast on KLON-FM, Long Beach, August 1997
– Dallas Symphony Orchestra performance broadcast on WRR, Dallas, January 14, 2002
– Kalamazoo Symphony performance broadcast on WMUK, Kalamazoo, April 2002
– Recorded (original version) by the London Symphony Orchestra, Peter Boyer, conductor, at Abbey Road Studios, London, January 2 & 3, 2001; released on compact disc by Koch International Classics (#3-7523-2), June 2001; re-mastered and reissued on compact disc (and digital download) by Propulsive Music (PRM-607), June 2007
– Performed by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Olomouc, Czech Republic, Lawrence Golan, conductor, June 20, 2007, and recorded by those performers; recording released on compact disc by Albany Records (Troy #1027), May 2008
– London Symphony Orchestra recording broadcast on Classic FM (national United Kingdom broadcast), December 5, 2001
– London Symphony Orchestra recording broadcast on dozens of radio stations throughout United States since its release, including KUSC, Los Angeles; WGBH, Boston; KING, Seattle; WRR, Dallas; WABE, Atlanta; KRTS, Houston; WNED, Buffalo; KSJN, St. Paul; KFUO, St. Louis; WWFM, Trenton; WGUC, Cincinnati (broadcast over 150 times on this station)
– Recorded (revised version) by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; released on the Take Six album, FWSO Live label, June 2012; recording broadcast extensively on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Symphony Hall Channel, beginning summer 2012
– Recorded (revised version) by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Boyer, conductor, at Abbey Road Studios, London, June 17, 2013; released worldwide by Naxos in its American Classics Series (#8.559769), February 2014
– Naxos recording broadcast on more than 50 radio stations throughout the United States; featured on stations including WFMT, Chicago

Read Program Note

This work was commissioned by the American Jazz Philharmonic to celebrate the inaugural season of the Henry Mancini Institute, its summer training program for outstanding young musicians. The premiere was given by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra under my direction, at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach, on August 16, 1997. The work’s title summarizes its content: it was intended as a jubilant curtain-raiser. A fast, rhythmic fanfare theme for four trumpets opens the work, and leads to a processional-like section with a repeated three-note motto, first played by four horns. The fanfare theme returns and leads to the central section, in 7/8 meter, dominated by a furiously fast repeated piano figure and sharp accents from the full orchestra. The rhythmic energy subsides, and there follows a lyrical passage, led by the oboe playing a melody which has blossomed from the earlier three-note horn motto. The return of the opening trumpet fanfare leads to the work’s jubilant ending. This has proved by far the most popular of my works in terms of radio play, with hundreds of performances on dozens of radio stations since the recording’s release in 2001. It was also the first of my works to be played by one of the major American orchestras, with the Dallas Symphony’s 2002 performances, for which I made some minor revisions to the work.

Boyer: Celebration Overture

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Peter Boyer, conductor

Photos from the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra premiere (1997), recordings at Abbey Road Studios with the LSO (2001) and LPO (2013), and a Carnegie Hall performance by the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (2014)