Michael Daugherty

(1954 - )


Michael Daugherty is one of the most frequently commissioned, programmed, and recorded composers on the American concert music scene today.  His music is rich with cultural allusions and bears the stamp of classic modernism, with colliding tonalities and blocks of sound; at the same time, his melodies can be eloquent and stirring. Daugherty has been hailed by The Times (London) as “a master icon maker” with a “maverick imagination, fearless structural sense and meticulous ear.”  Daugherty first came to international attention when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Zinman, performed his Metropolis Symphony  at Carnegie Hall in 1994.  Since that time, Daugherty’s music has entered the orchestral, band and chamber music repertoire and made him, according to the League of American Orchestras, one of the ten most performed living American composers.

Born in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Daugherty is the son of a dance-band drummer and the oldest of five brothers, all professional musicians.  He studied music composition at the University of North Texas (1972-76), the Manhattan School of Music (1976-78) and computer music at Boulez's IRCAM in Paris (1979-80).  Daugherty received his doctorate from Yale University in 1986 where his teachers included Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Roger Reynolds, and Bernard Rands.  During this time, he also collaborated with jazz arranger Gil Evans in New York, and pursued further studies with composer György Ligeti in Hamburg, Germany (1982-84).  After teaching music composition from 1986-1990 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance in Ann Arbor, Michigan where, since 1991, he has been a mentor to many of today's most talented young composers.

Daugherty is a frequent guest of professional orchestras, festivals, universities and conservatories around the world.  He has been the Composer-in-Residence with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, among others.  His music has been conducted and performed by Marin Alsop, Michael Christie, Kristjan Järvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Michael Tilson Thomas, Emmanuel Pahud, Ida Kavafian, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Ensemble Intercontemporain (France), Ethos Percussion Group, Kronos Quartet, and London Sinfonietta (UK).

Daugherty has received numerous awards, distinctions, and fellowships for his music including a Fulbright Fellowship (1977), Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1989), Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1991), fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1992) and the Guggenheim Foundation (1996), the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2000) and the Michigan Governor’s Award (2004).  In 2005, Daugherty received the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer's Award, and in 2007, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra selected Daugherty as the winner of the A. I. duPont Award.  Also in 2007, Daugherty was named "Outstanding Classical Composer" at the Detroit Music Awards and received the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for his composition Raise the Roof for timpani and symphonic band.  His music is published by Peermusic Classical and since 2003 by Boosey and Hawkes. Daugherty's music can be heard on the Albany, Argo, Delos, Equilibrium, Naxos, Nonesuch and Sony labels.

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