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Michael Daugherty: Bio

Grammy ® award winning composer Michael Daugherty is one of the most commissioned, performed, and recorded composers on the American concert music scene today. His music is rich with cultural allusions and bears the stamp of classic mod ernism, 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 repertory and made him, according to the League of American Orchestras, one of the ten most performed living American composers. In 2011, the Nashville Symphony's Naxos recording of Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony and Deus ex Machina was honored with three GRAMMY® Awards, including Best Classical Contemporary Composition. 

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 Pierre 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 NewYork, and pursued further studies with composer György Ligeti in Hamburg, Germany (1982-84). After teaching music composition from 1986-90 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the School of Music at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition and a mentor to many of today's most talented young composers.

Daugherty has been Composer-in-Residence with, among others, the Louisville Symphony Orchestra (2000), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1999-2003), Colorado Symphony Orchestra (2001-02), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (2001-04, 2006-08, 2011, 2014), Westshore Symphony Orchestra (2005-06), Eugene Symphony (2006), Henry Mancini Summer Institute (2006), the Music from Angel Fire Chamber Music Festival (2006), Pacific Symphony (2010), New Century Chamber Orchestra (2014), and Albany Symphony (2015).

Orchestras who have commissioned Daugherty include the Albany Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (United Kingdom), Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Phiharmonia Orchestra (London), RAI Symphony Orchestra (Italy), Nashville Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Spokane Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Syracuse Symphony.

Bands who have commissioned Daugherty include the University of Miami (Coral Gables), University of Michigan, Michigan State University, San Diego State University and University of Texas.

Conductors who have directed world premieres of Daugherty's orchestral music include Marin Alsop, Neal Gittleman, Giancarlo Guerro, David Kawaka, Mariss Jansons, Neemi Järvi, David Alan Miller, Leonard Slatkin, Carl St.Clair, Markus Stenz, Michael Tilson Thomas, Hugh Wolff and David Zinman.

Conductors who have directed world premieres of Daugherty's band music include Gary Green, Jerry Junkin, Shannon Kitelinger, Michael Haithcock, H. Robert Reynolds, Emily Threinen and John Whitwell.

Performing artists and ensembles who have given world premieres of Daugherty's music include Zuill Bailey (cello), Bash Ensemble (percussion), Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Paul Crossley (piano), Dogs of Desire, Manuel Barrueco (classical guitar), Ethos Percussion Ensemble, Greg Fulkerson (violin), Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Thomas Hampson (baritone), Paul Jacobs (organ), Carol Jantsch (tuba), Kronos Quartet, Ida Kavafian (violin), Hila Plitmann (soprano), Amy Porter (flute), Present Music (Milwaukee), Mike Rowe (narrator), London Sinfonietta, DJ Sparr (electric guitar), Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (violin), Michael Wayne (clarinet), Terrence Wilson (piano) and Chuck Ullery (bassoon).

Daugherty has received numerous awards, distinctions, and fellowships for his music, including a Fulbright Fellowship (1977), the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1989), the 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), and the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2000). 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, he received the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award for his composition Raise the Roof for Timpani and Symphonic Band. Daugherty has been named "Outstanding Classical Composer" at the Detroit Music Awards in 2007, 2009 and 2010. His GRAMMY® award winning recordings can be heard on Albany, Argo, Delos, Equilibrium, Klavier, Naxos and Nonesuch labels.

Recent recordings include the 2013 Naxos release of Mount Rushmore with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Chorale conducted by Carl St.Clair.  Current commissions include a concerto for violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra (2013), a concerto for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the WDR Sinfonieorcheste Köln (2014) and a cello concerto for Zuill Bailey and the Nashville Symphony (2015).

1 Lincoln's Funeral Train  
2 Autobiography  
3 Abraham Lincoln Is My Name  
4 Mystic Chords Of Memory  
5 Letter To Mrs. Bixby  
6 Mrs. Lincoln's Music Box  
7 Gettysburg Address  
8 Langsamer Satz  
9 Im Sommerwind  
NPR Letters from Lincoln Interview
Michael Daugherty: In His Own Words
Michael Daugherty Fire and Blood Mvt I Volcano

E1 Music is delighted to announce the release of Letters from Lincoln, the world-premiere recording of a work by composer Michael Daugherty featuring the world-renowned baritone Thomas Hampson and the Spokane Symphony under the direction of music director Eckart Preu. Letters from Lincoln for baritone and orchestra is scheduled for release in January of 2010. This new work was commissioned by the Spokane Symphony in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth (1809-1865), and premiered on February 28, 2009. Also included on the record are two lyric early works by Anton von Webern, Im Sommerwind and Langsamer Satz.

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Crossover Media Projects with: Michael Daugherty