Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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Live in Concert
4:11 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

M83 In Concert

M83, performing live at the 9:30 Club, in Washington, D.C.
Mito Habe-Evans

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:08 pm

Truth be told, we've been working for a long time to capture and share an M83 show on NPR Music. We tried twice in New York last fall, when the tour for the double album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming started, but it never quite worked out.

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All Songs Considered Blog
4:30 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Song Premiere: BRAINSTORM, 'Flat Earth'

Jaclyn Campanaro Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:20 pm

I'm a sucker for a stuttered guitar sound. It's a sound I came to love listening to Fela Kuti and other African greats in the '70s and '80s. American rockers often tend to crank their gritty guitars to 10 — they get loud and gritty about two and a half minutes into the tune. But it's that sweeter, stuttered sound that grabs me right away; you can hear it these days in bands like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend.

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All Songs Considered Blog
1:15 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Electronic Music Legend Added To Moogfest 2012

Morton Subotnick performing Silver Apples of the Moon in 2011
YouTube

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:00 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:40 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Rufus Wainwright: Tiny Desk Concert

Rufus Wainwright performs a Tiny Desk Concert, at the NPR Music offices on July 24, 2012.
Claire O'Neill NPR

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:21 pm

We'd never tried to squeeze a piano behind the Tiny Desk, but when I saw a chance to have Rufus Wainwright play here, I wouldn't — and he probably wouldn't — have had it any other way. Somehow, we managed to fit a glossy black Yamaha upright against my full bookshelves. Then we tuned it and waited for some glorious moments.

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