Born in Pittsburgh, Bonita Boyd grew up in Long Beach, California. Her teachers included Maurice Sharp of the Cleveland Orchestra; Roger Stevens; and Joseph Mariano, principal flute of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and legendary pedagogue at the Eastman School. Boyd succeeded him in both posts – becoming the youngest woman to hold major academic and orchestral appointments, as noted by Glamour magazine in its “Outstanding Career Women” feature.
In 1983, Boyd made her critically acclaimed Los Angeles debut, and also made her first solo tours of Europe and the Far East. Following tours of Latin America, she performed with orchestras and as recitalist throughout the world, including the National Gallery Orchestra (Washington, D.C.), National Symphony of the Dominican Republic, California Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Pusan Symphony (Korea), Western Australia Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Polish Radio Orchestra, Vilnius Chamber Orchestra, as well as numerous performances on National Public Radio, PBS television specials, and radio recordings in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Oslo, Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, Poland, and Lithuania.
Boyd has premiered numerous works, including Samuel Adler’s Concerto (1977); Warren Benson’s Five Lyrics of Louise Bogan (1978) and Concertino for Flute, Strings, and Percussion; Solo Sonata by Miklos Rozsa; and Eclipse Musings, Augusta Read Thomas (1998).
Her 1980 Alice Tully/Lincoln Center concert was highly praised, especially for her astonishing technical tour de force—Paganini violin Caprices transcribed for solo flute—later captured on her popular recording. Bonnie’s recording, Flute Music of Les Six, was honored by Stereo Review in its 1983 Record of the Year awards, and cited by High Fidelity magazine in its “Critics Choice” column. She has also recorded on Spectrum, Vox, Stolat, Gasparo, Philips, Albany, Pantheon, and Fleur de Son. Her most recent recordings include Bernstein’s Halil and a new release of the Paganini Caprices. She tours regularly with guitarist Nicholas Goluses; the pair has recorded and released a CD, Chronicles of Discovery.
Boyd served as principal flute with the Rochester Philharmonic (1971-1984), Chautauqua Symphony (1971-1977), and Filarmonica de las Americas, Mexico City (1977). She was a faculty member of the Johannesen International School of the Arts (1987-1996). An Eastman faculty member since 1977, Bonita Boyd is also currently a member of the artist faculty of the Aspen Music (1996-) and the Aria International (1997-) festivals, and is co-principal flutist of the Aspen Festival Orchestra.