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
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) and the Manhattan School of Music (1976-78). In 1978, Pierre Boulez, then the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, invited Daugherty to apply to his recently opened computer music institute in Paris: IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique). A Fulbright Fellowship enabled Daugherty to move to Paris to study computer music at IRCAM from 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 Gyorgy 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 where he participates in pre-concert talks, teaches composition master classes and works with student composers and ensembles. Daugherty has been the Composer-in-Residence with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra (2000), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1999-2003), Colorado Symphony Orchestra (2001-2002), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (2001-04, 2006-08), West Shore Symphony Orchestra (2005-06), Eugene Symphony (2006), Henry Mancini Summer Institute (2006), Music from Angel Fire Chamber Music Festival (2006) and Pacific Symphony (2010).
American orchestras who have performed Daugherty's music include the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, New York Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Richmond Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Symphony, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony and West Shore Symphony Orchestra. Orchestral performances abroad of Daugherty's music have been given by, among others, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bochumer Symphoniker, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Orchestra, Philharmonia (London), Philharmonisches Hamburg, RAI Orchestra of Turin and the Tonalle Orchester Zurich.
Daugherty's orchestral music has been conducted by, among others, Marin Alsop, David Amado, Tito Ceccherini, Michael Christie, Carl St. Clair, Dennis Russell Davies, James DePriest, Enrique Diemecke, William Eddins, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Daniel Hege, Mariss Jansons, Neeme Jarvi, Kristjan Jarvi, Jeffrey Kahane, Kenneth Keisler, David Lockington, David Loebel, Grant Llewellyn, Ingo Metzmacher, David Allan Miller, John Nelson, Larry Rachleff, David Robertson, Timothy Russell, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Gerald Schwartz, Leif Segerstam, Leonard Slatkin, Steven Sloane, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Scott Speck, Markus Stenz, Patrick Summers, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Hugh Wolff and David Zinman.
Ensembles who have performed Daugherty's chamber music include the Bassoon Brothers, Boston Music Viva, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Ensemble Bash (UK), Sentieri Selvaggi (Italy), Ensemble Intercontemporain (France), Ethos Percussion Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, London Sinfonietta (UK), Netherlands Winds Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and Present Music.
Renowned soloists who have performed his music include baritone Thomas Hampson, percussionists Colin Currie and Evelyn Glennie, flutists Emmanuel Pahud and Amy Porter, classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco, violinists Alexandre da Costa, Francesco D'Orazio, Gregory Fulkerson and Ida Kavafian, clarinetists John Bruce Yeh and Michael Wayne, bassoonist Charles Ullery, and pianists Emanuele Arciuli, Paul Crossley, Christopher O'Riley, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Terrence Wilson.
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.
August 9, 2009
To say that a composer's style is unique merely states what should be true of every composer, and yet when confronted with Michael Daugherty's music one feels compelled to make this claim. Enzo Restagno, Artistic Director of Settembre Musica in Torino, Italy has written:
To observe The American landscape in Michael Daugherty's company is an unforgettable experience which I had during a long nocturnal walk through the streets of New York. Naturally we talked about music, but our talk was interrupted every minute because he kept stopping ecstatically outside a show window or some public building. He wanted to call my attention to some gadget or individual abounding in symbolic value. Clothing, menus, items for everyday use, gestures, posters, billboards, photographs, and architecture, all inspired lengthy observations endowed with great insight, but, at the same time, an affectionate irony. Like the energy that radiates from the icons housed in our European museums and art galleries, Michael Daugherty's music successfully releases the poetic power of
It is in part this fascination with the vernacular that sets Daugherty's music apart. By using sophisticated compositional techniques to develop his melodic motives combined with complex polyrhythmic layers, he has created a style that is bursting with energy and truly unique. Niagara Falls for symphonic winds will be the principal work considered here, though general background and performance considerations would apply to Desi and Bizarro for orchestral winds, Motown Metal for brass ensemble, Timbuktuba for euphoniums, tubas , and percussion, and UFO, Rosa Parks Boulevard and Red Cape Tango for symphonic winds.
Daugherty's connection to the pop world infuses his work at every level. The inspiration for much of his music comes from icons of the American pop culture. He acknowledges his debt to
pop culture, saying:
"For me icons serve as a way to have an emotional reason to compose a new work. I get ideas for my compositions by browsing through second book stores, antique shops, and small towns that I find driving on the back roads of America. The icon can be an old postcard, magazine, photograph, knick-knack, matchbook, piece of furniture or roadmap. Like Ives and Mahler, I use icons in my music to provide the listener and performer with a layer of reference. However, one does not need the reference of the icon to appreciate my music. It is merely one level among many in the musical, contrapuntal fabric of
The Metropolis Symphony and Bizarro are based on the Superman story; Desi is inspired by the television character Ricky Ricardo. One hears urban Detroit in the industrial sounding Motown Metal and the courage of an Afro-American civil rights icon in the emotional charged Rosa Parks Boulevard. UFO is inspired by the unidentified flying objects that have been an obsession in American popular culture since 1947.
Not surprisingly, Niagara Falls draws its inspiration not only from the falls themselves, but most importantly from the pop culture that surrounds this
"My parents went on their honeymoon and I've visited there many time as I have in-laws in Syracuse so we stop at Niagara Falls on the way. Niagara Falls is a destination for honeymooners and its also one of the biggest capitals of tourist traps in North America. I think that to even write a piece inspired by this sort of concept is still uncommon in concert music. Yet when I am writing the music I am extremely serious about putting the notes, the dynamics and the articulations, the timbre, the structure and the counterpoint. When I compose, I think in a very structural logical way as Webern and Bach did."
Daugherty's melodic material--usually short motives that are repeated in sequences or canons--frequently comes straight from jazz or Latin musical idioms with strong syncopation. Often the accompanying figures are rooted in big band jazz, whether the closely harmonized scale fragments typical of a saxophone section or the explosive interjections by the brass. All of this occurs over rhythmic ostinati or grooves in the bass and percussion sections--the classic rhythm section of
pop and jazz.
-- Timothy Salzman (2001)
Grove Dictionary of Music Entry
(b Cedar Rapids, IA, 28 April 1954). American composer. He grew up playing the keyboard in jazz, rock and funk bands. He studied at North Texas State University (1972--6), at the Manhattan School of Music (1976--8) and at Yale University (DMA 1986), where his teachers included Earle Brown, Jacob Druckman, and Roger Reynolds. He also spent a year at IRCAM as a Fulbright Fellow (1979--80), collaborated with jazz musician Gil Evans in New York (1980--82) and studied with Ligeti in Hamburg (1982--4). After teaching composition at Oberlin College Conservatory (1986--91), he was appointed professor of composition at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1992.
Daugherty first came to national attention in the USA when Snap! -- Blue Like an Orange (1987) won a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in 1989. The work, which established the primary characteristics of his compositional style, combines rigorous polyrhythmic counterpoint with a playful and pointed use of the popular music of his youth. This lively mixture is presented in many works with a wry sense of timing, deft orchestration and a sensitivity to the spatial dimension of music. The Metropolis Symphony (1988--93) and Bizarro (1993) were inspired by Daugherty's enthusiasm for the Superman comic strip of the 1950s and 60s. The symphony inaugurated a series of works concerned with American icons. Other works in the series include Desi (1991), a Latin big band tribute to Desi Arnaz in the television show 'I Love Lucy'; the chamber work Dead Elvis (1993); and a piano concertino, Le tombeau de Liberace (1996). Works commissioned by the Kronos Quartet include Sing Sing: J. Edgar Hoover (1992), featuring the voice of the infamous FBI director, and Elvis Everywhere (1993) for three Elvis impersonators and string quartet. The chamber opera Jackie O (1997), set in the late 1960s, explores the interplay of musical idioms associated with 'high' and 'popular' culture. Daugherty has also composed a series of works dedicated to popular places in America, including Niagara Falls for band (1997), Route 66 for orchestra (1998), Sunset Strip for chamber orchestra (1999) and his symphony in three movements, Motorcity Triptych (2000).
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.
5 New ON this week 64 Total
Synd: PRI/Performance Today Direct: SiriusXM/Boundaries, Music Choice State Networks: West Virginia, New Jersey, Indiana, Georgia, Iowa, Vermont, Texas Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland, Berkeley CA, San Antonio, Nashville, Albuquerque, Columbus OH Online: RadioIO