“Boyer has a gift for melody as well as a knack for generating excitement with a large orchestra, and the combination is a winner.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Festivities was commissioned by Gerard Schwarz and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Boyer recorded the work with the London Philharmonic Orchestra on his Naxos recording released in 2014. Its performances include those by Carl St.Clair with the Fort Worth Symphony and Pacific Symphony, and it has received many broadcasts, including a national radio feature on America’s Music Festivals.

Instrumentation

3(III=picc).3.3.2.cbsn—4.3.3.1—timp.perc(4,opt5)—harp—pft(=cel)—strings

Duration

5:30

Composition Date and Commission

Composed 2011
Commissioned by Gerard Schwarz and the Eastern Music Festival in celebration of its 50th anniversary

Critical Acclaim

“The opener was a brand-new work by Peter Boyer, a former composer-in-residence with the orchestra and a man who has made his mark with Fort Worth audiences… His new work, Festivities, lived up to its title. It’s a bold piece that, after a loud and brassy opening, maintains an overall liveliness tempered by a couple of soft, lyrical episodes. Boyer has a gift for melody as well as a knack for generating excitement with a large orchestra, and the combination is a winner… Boyer was present to take some bows to an audience that clearly seemed on his side.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“The opener was the rousing Festivities, by Peter Boyer, who’s been one of the orchestra’s composers-in-residence. In five and a half minutes it encompasses brassy, boomy fanfares, a rowdy dancelike section and a lyrical excursion for solo oboe; its cinematic musical language is a stew of Copland, Bernstein and John Williams. The orchestra played up a storm, and Boyer shared the applause onstage.”
The Dallas Morning News

“A short new work opened the concert: Festivities by Peter Boyer, who is on the faculty at Claremont Graduate University and an orchestrator in Hollywood. He writes unapologetically populist music, and Festivities fits the mold with its bold percussion, fanfare brass, driving rhythms and tinkling colors… St.Clair and the orchestra gave it the requisite hoo-wah.”
Orange County Register

View Performance History

– Premiered by the Eastern Festival Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, conductor, July 9 & 10, 2011
– Performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Carl St.Clair, conductor, October 5, 6 & 7, 2012
– Performed by the Pasadena Symphony, José-Luis Gomez, conductor, April 27, 2013 (two performances)
– Performed by the Rockford Symphony, Steven Larsen, conductor, July 3, 2013
– Performed by the National Repertory Orchestra, Carl St.Clair, conductor, July 31, 2013
– Performed by the Pacific Symphony, Carl St.Clair, conductor, at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa, September 26, 27 & 28, 2013
– Eastern Festival Orchestra premiere performance broadcast nationally on America’s Music Festivals, January 2012
– Recorded 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 75 radio stations throughout the United States

Read Program Note

For many years, I have been a great admirer of the work of conductor Gerard Schwarz. Some of my earliest exposure to many important works of the American orchestral repertoire came about through the landmark recordings he conducted with the Seattle Symphony. So it’s easy to understand why I’d long hoped for an opportunity to have Maestro Schwarz conduct my music. As such, when I received an invitation from him to compose a short work for the Eastern Music Festival in 2011, I was delighted at the opportunity. When I learned of the other composers who were also being commissioned in this series, I was especially honored to be included among such a distinguished group.

As the occasion for this series of commissions was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Eastern Music Festival, it seemed to me that a short celebratory work was in order. I have written a number of such celebratory works over the years, and enjoy composing pieces in this jubilant vein when the occasion demands. Focusing on the idea of a festival brought to mind the term “festivity,” which is defined as “the celebration of something in a joyful and exuberant way.” This description seemed apt for the mood of this short work, and so I titled it Festivities. I hope that the work succeeded in contributing to a joyful celebration of the Eastern Music Festival’s golden anniversary, and that it may fulfill a similar function as a rousing opening work on other programs.

Festivities

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Peter Boyer, conductor


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Watch video from recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios

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Photos from performances with the Eastern Music Festival, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Pacific Symphony