What's New: Michael Daugherty

Jan 10, 2018

Bassoonist Dr. Sherwood Wise performing Michael Daugherty's “Dead Elvis”.
Credit Dr. Michael Levi

A cultural icon can be an object, place, person or symbol which members of a group or country recognize as important to them in some way. Setting an icon to music might seem impossible or incredibly simple – but one composer has taken 20th and 21st century American icons and made them his own.

We’ll hear some major icons that have been depicted in music from award winning composer Michael Daugherty on today’s What’s New.

Grammy ® award winning composer Michael Daugherty is one of the most respected and performed composers on the scene today. He 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.

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, the Manhattan School of Music, and computer music at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM in Paris. Daugherty also received his doctorate from Yale University where he studied with Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Roger Reynolds, and Bernard Rands. After teaching music composition from 1986-90 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the School of Music at the University of Michigan in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition and a mentor to many of today’s most talented young composers.

What’s New is a production of WBAA Classical, a listener supported broadcast service of Purdue University.