Michael Daugherty: Music and Inspiration
April 5, 2017
Grammy® award winning composer Michael Daugherty discusses the people, places, and things that inspire his music. Daugherty’s compositions are rich with cultural allusions and bear the stamp of classic modernism, with colliding tonalities and blocks of sound; at the same time, his melodies can be eloquent and stirring.
Michael Daugherty is one of the most frequently commissioned, programmed, and recorded composers on the American concert music scene today, hailed by The Times (UK) 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 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.
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, Michael Tilson Thomas, Emmanuel Pahud, Ida Kavafian, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Kronos Quartet, and London Sinfonietta.
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). Daugherty's music can be heard on the Albany, Argo, Delos, Equilibrium, Naxos, Nonesuch and Sony labels. 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 for Deus ex Machina.