Bonita Boyd’s performing career began at age 21 when she replaced her mentor Joseph Mariano as principal flutist of the Rochester Philharmonic in 1971. Then under the direction of conductor David Zinman, she became the youngest principal flutist of a major American orchestra. She also served as Principal Flutist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, Filarmonica de las Americas, and the Aspen Festival Symphony Orchestra.
In the mid-1980s, Boyd’s focus turned to growing her solo career and she began touring extensively. After her Alice Tully Hall debut, the New York Times praised her performance as “a flabbergasting display of her talents,” while debuts in Los Angeles and Europe inspired comparisons to Sir James Galway and Jean-Pierre Rampal.
On the faculty of the Eastman School of Music since 1977, Boyd has served as guest artist or artist faculty at numerous festivals, including Marlboro, Bowdoin, Grand Teton, Chauatauqua, and many others. Additionally, she has served as president of the National Flute Association, from which she received a lifetime achievement award in 2012.
Boyd has recorded and premiered many works by contemporary composers. Her Flute Music of Les Six album was honored in Stereo Review “Album of the Year” Awards, and her Paganini Caprice CD was on the final ballot for Grammy Nominations. Boyd performs regularly with famed guitarist Nicholas Goluses with whom she recently released their second CD, Quicksilver.