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Oct. 19, 2004

 

U-M composer wins governor's award

Daugherty
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—University of Michigan music professor Michael Daugherty, who has been selected by ArtServe Michigan as the 2004 Michigan Artist of the Year, says the award inspires him to continue his work in contemporary concert music.

"I am thrilled to receive this important honor from ArtServe Michigan," Daugherty said. "I feel a strong connection with Michigan as a result of my various musical collaborations over the last decade with some of Michigan's finest music organizations. This award will inspire me to continue my vision of contemporary concert music and its place in our culture and community."

Gov. Jennifer Granholm will present Daugherty with Michigan's premier award for arts and cultural excellence at the 19th annual awards ceremony Nov. 18 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. Previous winners include actor Jeff Daniels, jazz legend Teddy Harris and U-M's Peter Sparling and William Bolcom.

Daugherty is one of the most performed and commissioned American composers of his generation and has created a niche in the music world that is uniquely his own, composing concert music inspired by contemporary American popular culture. The London Times (United Kingdom) has described Daugherty as "a master icon-maker" and hailed his "maverick imagination, fearless structural sense and meticulous ear. His music has the uncanny knack of speaking everybody's language at once while retaining the ability to surprise, move, stimulate, inspire and amuse."

In 1999, Daugherty began a four-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. During that time, the DSO commissioned "Rosa Parks Boulevard" (1999), "MotorCity Triptych" (1999), "Fire and Blood," (2003), and "Raise the Roof" (2003). Other Michigan organizations that have commissioned Daugherty include The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, West Shore Symphony Orchestra (Muskegon), U-M Symphony Band, and the Detroit Chamber Winds.

"What I really tried to do is create a sound world where one can hear the diversity of what it means to live in Detroit," Daugherty told Detroit News critic Lawrence Johnson. "I approached this piece like an actor researching a role. I spent a year driving around the city and talking to people and you hear those impressions in the three parts of my work—the Middle Eastern violin passages, the industrial sounds, a glimpse of keyboard harmony by Stevie Wonder. MotorCity Triptych is like a drive along Michigan Avenue from downtown to River Rouge through Dearborn."

Included in his works are "Desi," "Timbuktuba," "UFO, "Rosa Parks Boulevard" and "Red Cape Tango." Some of his more monumental works include "Metropolis Symphony" (1988–93), a tribute to the Superman comics performed in 1995 at Carnegie Hall by conductor David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and his opera "Jackie O" (1997) produced in America, Canada, France, and Sweden and recorded by Argo/Decca. Daugherty has also composed numerous works for wind ensemble.

Among the numerous awards for his music are the Stoeger Prize from Lincoln Center, recognition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.

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 North Texas State University (1972–76) and Manhattan School of Music (1976–78), and computer music at Boulez's IRCAM in Paris (1979–80).

Daugherty received his doctorate from Yale University in 1986. 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 several years at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Daugherty joined the School of Music at the U-M (Ann Arbor) in 1991, where he is professor of composition.

Daugherty is composing a clarinet concerto titled "Brooklyn Bridge" for the U-M Symphony Band to premiere at Carnegie Hall Feb. 25, 2005, and an orchestral work inspired by the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe, commissioned by BBC London.

Naxos has just released a CD of two recent Daugherty orchestral works "Philadelphia Stories" and "UFO" featuring Evelyn Glennie as percussion soloist with Marin Alsop conducting the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

More on Daugherty >

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone:(734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu