Multiple GRAMMY Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty (b. 28 April 1954, Cedar Rapids, Iowa) achieved international recognition as one of the ten most performed American composers of concert music, according to the League of American Orchestras. His orchestral music, recorded by Naxos over the last two decades, has received six GRAMMY Awards, including Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2011 for Deus ex Machina for piano and orchestra and in 2017 for Tales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra.
During his developmental years, Daugherty's mother encouraged him to paint, draw cartoons, tap dance, and play basketball. His father taught him how to play rock and jazz drums. From 1963-67 Daugherty played bass drum in the Emerald Knights and tom-toms in the Grenadier Drum and Bugle Corps where he competed against other drum and bugle corps throughout small Midwestern towns. During these years, Daugherty was employed as an early morning paper boy for The Des Moines Register.
Traveling was an important pastime for the Daugherty family. They often took long summer road trips down two-lane highways to tourist locations, including Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls and Miami Beach. In 1964, the entire Daugherty family took a two-week vacation to London where The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix were at the height of their fame and Carnaby Street was the cutting edge of pop culture and fashion – this was in the heart of the Swinging Sixties.
The sixties in America were a time of great political unrest and social change. This made a great impact on the teenage Daugherty. Civil Rights demonstrations for racial equality and integration and demonstrations against the Vietnam War were becoming common day occurrences in Iowa, especially at the nearby University of Iowa, in Iowa City.
From 1968-72, Daugherty was the leader, arranger, and organist for his high school rock, soul, and funk band, The Soul Company. This band performed a variety of Motown charts and music by James Brown, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Sly and the Family Stone. Because accessing sheet music was almost impossible, Daugherty learned to hand-transcribe the music by listening to vinyl recordings. With the help of his father, who drove the band across the state, The Soul Company became a locally popular group that performed at high school proms, dances, and other events.
During the same years, Daugherty was a piano accompanist for the Washington High School Concert Choir, a solo jazz piano performer in nightclubs and lounges, and he appeared on local television as the pianist for the country and western Dale Thomas Show. Daugherty interviewed jazz artists who performed in Iowa, including Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, George Shearing, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and he wrote articles on their music for the high school newspaper. During the summers of 1972-77, Daugherty played Hammond organ at county fairs across the Midwest for various popular music stars such as Bobby Vinton, Boots Randolph, Pee Wee King, and members of The Lawrence Welk Show.
As a young man, Daugherty studied composition with many of the preeminent composers of the 20th century including Pierre Boulez at IRCAM in Paris and Betsy Jolas the Paris Conservatory of Music (1979), Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Bernard Rands and Roger Reynolds at Yale (1980-82), and György Ligeti in Hamburg (1982-84). Daugherty was also an assistant to jazz arranger Gil Evans in New York from 1980-82. After teaching from 1986-1991 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance in 1991 as Professor of Composition, where he is a mentor to many of today’s most talented young composers. He is also a frequent guest of professional orchestras, festivals, universities and conservatories around the world.
Daugherty has been the composer-in-residence with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra (2000), Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1999-2003), Colorado Symphony Orchestra (2001-02), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (2001-04, 2006-11), Westshore Symphony Orchestra (2005-06), Eugene Symphony (2006), the Henry Mancini Summer Institute (2006), the Music from Angel Fire Chamber Music Festival (2006), Pacific Symphony (2010-11), Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra (2012) and New Century Orchestra (2013).
Daugherty has received numerous awards, distinctions, and fellowships for his music, these include: a Fulbright Fellowship (1977), the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1989) for his compositions Snap! and Blue Like an Orange, 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, 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.
Works for Winds
- American Gothic (tr. Galyen) (2013/2019)
- Asclepius (2007)
- Alligator Alley (2003)
- Bells for Stokowski (2002)
- Bizarro (1993)
- Brooklyn Bridge (2005)
- Dead Elvis (1999)
- Desi (1991)
- Labyrinth of Love (2012)
- Ladder to the Moon (2005)
- Lost Vegas (2011)
- Motown Metal (1994)
- Niagara Falls (1997)
- Of War and Peace (2017)
- On the Air (2012)
- Raise the Roof (2007)
- Red Cape Tango (tr. Spede) (1993/1999)
- Reflections on the Mississippi for Tuba and Band (2013)
- Rio Grande (2015)
- Rosa Parks Boulevard (2001)
- Songs from a Silent Land (2019)
- UFO (2000)
- Vulcan (2014)
- Winter Dreams (2015)
- Geraldi, Kevin M. "Vulcan." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 844-856. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
- Kitelinger, Shannon. "On the Air." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 659-666. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
- Kitelinger, Shannon. "Rio Grande." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 993-1000. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
- Michael Daugherty, Boosey & Hawkes Accessed 28 March 2017
- Michael Daugherty discography
- Michael Daugherty, Peer Music Classical Accessed 28 March 2017
- Michael Daugherty, personal correspondence, January 2019
- Michael Daugherty website
- Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 718.
- Popejoy, James. "Winter Dreams." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 650-.660 Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
- Schwartz, Robert M. "Lost Vegas." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 715-725. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.
- Scott, Judson. (2003). "Michael Daugherty." In: A Composer's Insight, Volume 1. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications. pp. 35–46.
- Stotter, Douglas. "Bizarro." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 867-875. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.