Peter Boyer’s “Balance of Power”
to premiere at the Kennedy Center 
Washington, D.C., September 13, 2021 — American composer Peter Boyer’s new work Balance of Power, commissioned for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the National Symphony Orchestra, will be premiered by the NSO on September 18, 2021, as the Kennedy Center’s milestone 50th anniversary season commences.

The one-night-only program also features preeminent pianist Lang Lang performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and the Symphony No. 2, “Romantic” of Howard Hanson. The conductor will be Thomas Wilkins.
Boyer has become one of the most sought-after composers dealing with American subject matter in his works, and Balance of Power reflects this. The 18-minute, three-movement work was commissioned in celebration of the 95th birthday (in 2018) of Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State. The commission was sponsored by Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, philanthropist and former U.S. Ambassador, who has sponsored numerous works by leading American orchestral composers.
The three movements of Balance of Power are titled “A Sense of History,” “A Sense of Humor,” and “A Sense of Direction.” These titles and the overall theme of the work reflect Boyer’s research about Kissinger, as well as a personal meeting with him prior to composing the work.

Balance of Power was originally scheduled to premiere in May 2021, as part of the NSO’s 90th anniversary season, but was rescheduled due to the pandemic. Boyer completed and delivered the work at the end of 2019.
Boyer stated, “I’m grateful to the Kennedy Center, its President Deborah Rutter, and the staff of the National Symphony Orchestra for entrusting me with this important project. As an American composer, it is a distinct honor to be commissioned by our national performing arts center. I’m also humbled to be in the company of such an esteemed group of composers who have been commissioned for the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary season.”
Earlier this year, Boyer’s Fanfare for Tomorrow was premiered at the inauguration of President Biden, by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, which commissioned the work.

Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America, one of the most-performed orchestral works by a living American composer, was featured on PBS’s Great Performances. Boyer’s work The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, the Boston Pops 125th anniversary commission, was narrated by acclaimed actors including Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin.
About the Composer
Peter 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 200 orchestras, and tens of thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has received commissions from several of the most esteemed American institutions and ensembles, including the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, and the United States Marine Band, which premiered his Fanfare for Tomorrow at the inauguration of President Biden. Other orchestras which have performed Boyer’s music include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
Boyer’s Grammy-nominated work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, 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 100 orchestras since its 2002 premiere. A performance of Ellis Island with the Pacific Symphony was televised nationally in 2018 on PBS’ Great Performances, America’s preeminent performing arts television series. In 2019, Boyer received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of the most prestigious American awards.
In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations to more than 35 feature film scores from all the major movie studios, for leading Hollywood composers including James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, Aaron Zigman, and the late James Horner. Boyer has composed scores for The History Channel, arranged music for Academy Awards telecasts, and his music has appeared in short films, documentary films, and various television programs. He holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University. More information can be found at
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