Boykan has written for a wide variety of instrumental combinations including 4 string quartets, a concerto for large ensemble, many trios, duos and solo works, song cycles for voice and piano as well as instrumental ensembles and choral music. His symphony for orchestra and baritone solo was premiered by the Utah Symphony in 1993, and his concerto for violin and orchestra was premiered by Curt Macomber in 2008 with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose. His work is widely performed and has been presented by almost all of the current new music ensembles including the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, The New York New Music Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, the League ISCM, Earplay, Musica Viva and Collage New Music.
He received the Jeunesse Musicales award for his String Quartet No.1 in 1967 and the League ISCM award for Elegy in 1982. Other awards include a Rockefeller grant, NEA award, Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright, as well as a recording award and the Walter Hinrichsen Publication Award from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1994 he was awarded a Senior Fulbright to Israel. He has received numerous commissions from chamber ensembles as well as commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress, and the Fromm Foundation. In 2011 Boykan was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.
At present Boykan is an Emeritus Professor of Music, Brandeis University. He has been Composer in Residence at the Composer's Conference in Wellesley and the University of Utah, Visiting Professor at Columbia University, New York University and Bar Ilan University (Israel) and has lectured widely in institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, The American Academy in Berlin, etc. He has served on many panels, including the Rome Prize, the Fromm Commission, the New York Council for the Arts (CAPS) and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Over the years he has taught many hundreds of students including such well known composers as Steve Mackey, Peter Lieberson, Marjorie Merryman and Ross Bauer.
Boykan's music is recorded by CRI (available through New World Records or Amazon.com), Albany Records, and Boston Music Orchestra Project (BMOP). Scores are published by Mobart Music Press, and C.F. Peters, NYC. In 2004 a volume of essays entitled Silence and Slow Time: Studies in Musical Narrative was published by Scarecrow Press (Rowman and Littlefield). In 2011 a second volume of essays entitled The Power of the Moment was published by Pendragon Press.