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.

Pages

All Songs Considered Blog
10:29 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Old Music Tuesday: Ziggy Stardust Turns 40

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spider's From Mars album art.

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:27 pm

Read more
All Songs Considered Blog
1:19 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Song Premiere: Patti Smith 'Fuji-san'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 1:46 pm

When an old musical "friend" puts out a record, I secretly pray for greatness, as if rooting for a favorite team. These later records often pale in comparison to their early predecessors, but still I listen and try to find something I love.

Read more
All Songs Considered Blog
10:33 am
Fri June 1, 2012

I Just Deleted All My Music (Pt. 1)

Bob Boilen had more than 25,000 songs stored on his laptop's hard drive. Now there are none.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 9:51 am

I just deleted over 25,000 songs from my iTunes library. I am going to trust in the cloud, where my library now lives. I'm a bit scared, but I backed everything up, took a deep breath and stepped into the future.

Abandoning the way I've come to listen to music over the last decade feels like a big experiment, but in some ways, the decision was a long time coming. I've been close to maxing out the hard drive space on my laptop for a while, and in a single day this week, I reclaimed nearly 200 gigabytes.

Read more
All Songs Considered Blog
11:35 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Watch Neil Young's 'Americana' Film

A still from Neil Young's film, Americana.

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 2:10 pm

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have a new record coming out Tuesday. Americana is blistering guitar romp through the classic American songbook, from the 1800s to doo-wop and beyond. Well today we we have a 40 minute film created by Bernard Shakey (Young's alias) filled with the music from Americana.

Read more
All Songs Considered Blog
1:54 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Old Music Tuesday: Paul McCartney's 'Ram'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 2:31 pm

Read more

Pages