Bonita Boyd, professor of flute at the Eastman School of Music, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Flute Association (NFA). Boyd was honored earlier this month at the organization’s annual convention, where flutists from around the world whose lives and careers were touched by Boyd performed in a special concert.
Describing her as a luminary of the flute world, the NFA cited her remarkable career as a performer, mentor, teacher, and artist. Boyd was named Principal Flutist of the Rochester Philharmonic in 1971, becoming the youngest principal flutist of a major American orchestra, a fact noted by Glamour Magazine in its “Career Women of the Year” feature. She held the RPO position until 1984 and has also served as principal flute of the Chautauqua Symphony and Filarmonica de las Americas, Mexico City.
In 1980, Boyd’s performance of Paganini Violin Caprices transcribed for solo flute was highly praised in the New York Times as a “flabbergasting account of her talent.” Her critically acclaimed 1983 Los Angeles debut earned comparisons to James Galway and Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Frankfurter Allgemeine called her “a musician of great dimension.”
Since her first solo tours in 1983, Boyd has done extensive concert tours across North and South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia as soloist with orchestra, recitalist, and master teacher. She has given 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).
As a recording artist, Boyd was honored by Stereo Review in its 1983 Record of the Year awards for Flute Music of Les Six, which was also 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 Nicholas Goluses, professor of guitar at the Eastman School; the pair has recorded the CDs Chronicles of Discovery and Quicksilver.
Appointed to the Eastman School of Music faculty in 1977, Boyd is also a member of the artist faculty of the Aspen and Aria Music Festivals and is co-principal flutist of the Aspen Festival Orchestra. She also served on the faculty of the Johannesen International School of the Arts from 1987 to 1996.
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