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The music man

Submitted by Elizabeth Armstrong on October 2, 2011 – 11:40 pmNo Comment

Photo by Brittany McDonald

Robert Boury lived a rock star life before arriving at UALR.

He is a dedicated professor in the music department. He has served as UALR’s Resident Composer for the past thirty years.

He started playing piano when he was 10, however, by the time he was 13, he wanted to give it up. His piano teacher did not give up on him. She gathered old ten-inch classical records. After Boury heard the music, he thought to himself, “I want to write music like this.” He became fond of composers such as Scott Joplin and Chopin.

In 1972, at the age of 25, Boury graduated with a Doctorate in Music from the University of Michigan. He wanted to explore the music industry instead of teaching at that time.

“I went to Hollywood to the weirdest looking building, Capital Records. I asked them if there was anything I could do with the degree I had and they said I could write the music for the bands.” He said he met and worked with great, talented musicians. Boury began to write lead sheets (music notation with only melody, chords and lyrics) for bands in the studio.

Boury, later worked for Motown Records and helped make two albums for the Scot Richards Case and helped Angela Bowie, former wife of musician David Bowie set up a fan club in Indianapolis for Bowie.

“I went to a state-of-the-art, 16-track studio in Indianapolis for a year as their writer/arranger, where I made radio jingles and wrote the score for a documentary film. Then I was in Hollywood in 1973, trying to break into movies. I did a score for a film and wrote lead sheets for Capitol Records that year.”

Boury also played with pianist and composer Eubie Black at the Toronto Ragtime Festival and has written two children’s operas for Chotard Institute for young singers.

Boury said he is a classical musician who has been trying to break out of the box, wants to expand and explore world music and the theories of John Cage. Boury will be hosting two songwriting showcases Nov. 22 at 7:30 in the UALR Stella Boyle Concert Hall. It will feature songs by students taking songwriting classes. It is sponsored by the Office of Campus Life and the Music Department.


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