Protopsaltis John Michael Boyer has been performing since the age of 7, then the youngest ever member of the Portland Opera Association. Now considered an expert Byzantine cantor, he lectures at workshops and seminars on Eastern Orthodox liturgical music across the United States, and has served as specialty coach for both Chanticleer and the Minnesota Symphony for world première performances and recordings of works by John Tavener. Chanticleer’s recording, Lamentations and Praises won a grammy. John has received critical acclaim for his solo chant performances with Cappella Romana.
He began studies of Byzantine Chant at age 14 under musicologist Alexander Lingas at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland. In 1996 and 1999, he furthered his studies in Athens under Lycourgos Angelopoulos, director of the Greek Byzantine Choir. In 2000, he lectured and sang at the Liturgical Singing Seminar in Santa Rosa. At the 2001 Western States Diocese Greek Orthodox Church Music Federation Conference, he directed the Byzantine Chant Schola in liturgical performances of his own transcriptions and English adaptations of the Byzantine melodic tradition. These settings have been recorded and released on a CD by the female vocal group Eikona, under John’s direction. In 2002, he led the University of California Chamber Chorus in performances of his own transcriptions for the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition. In the 2003-04 academic year, he worked as research assistant to Professor Alexander Lingas on a general historical survey of the Byzantine musical tradition at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and chanted as assistant to Protopsaltis Dr. Yioryos Bilalis in Jamaica, New York. Since then, he has returned to Athens to study advanced theory and orthography with renowned cantor and musicologist Ioannis Arvanitis, and to sing with Lycourgos Angelopoulos at Saint Irene’s church in Monastiraki.
John continues to produce original and adapted settings of Chant in both Post-Byzantine and Western notations. He is now one of Cappella Romana’s main editors for the composition, transcription, adaptation and compilation of Byzantine Music in the received tradition, including the scores for the critically acclaimed recording of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom sung in Byzantine Chant in the English language.
In March 2006, by the grace of God, John was appointed to the position of Protopsaltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos. Having received a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in music at the University of California, Berkeley, he continues to sing on a regular basis with Cappella Romana, and is now associate conductor and assistant director of Bay Area Classical Harmonies, and Artistic Director of the Josquin Singers. He is also Protopsaltis and Director of Liturgy at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Sacramento, California.