Bob Boilen 2010 i
Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Boilen 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Boilen

Host, All Songs Considered

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.

[+] full biography[-] full biography

Producer, engineer and musician John Congleton. Jeaneen Lund/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Jeaneen Lund/Courtesy of the artist

Gabrielle Smith performs as Eskimeaux at a Tiny Desk Concert on July 14, 2015. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Aquaria, the new album by BOOTS, comes out November 13. Eliot Lee Hazel/Nasty Little Man PR hide caption

itoggle caption Eliot Lee Hazel/Nasty Little Man PR

Clockwise from upper left: Foals, Julia Holter, Rodrigo Amarante, Telekinesis, Sjowgren Courtesy of the artists hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Tiny Desk Concert with Caroline Rose. Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Bikini Kill perform at one of their first live shows, in 1990. Allison Wolfe/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Allison Wolfe/Courtesy of the artist

Clockwise from upper left: Deerhunter, Youth Lagoon, GEMS, YACHT Courtesy of the artists hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Tiny Desk concert with Torres Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Sylvan Esso. Elizabeth Weinberg/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Elizabeth Weinberg/Courtesy of the artist