Michael Daugherty

2014 - Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael Daugherty was born into a musical in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His father, Willis, was jazz, country and western drummer and his mother, Evelyn, was an amateur singer. At the early age of 8, Daugherty taught himself to play piano by pumping the pedals of the player piano and watching the keys move.

From 1963-1967, 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 in the area Midwestern towns.

Between 1968 and 1972, he became the leader, arranger and organist for his high school rock, soul and funk band, “The Soul Company.” This band performed a variety of Motown chart songs and soul music. During this same time period, 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 western Dale Thomas Show. He interviewed jazz artists such as Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, George Shearing, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. In 1972, he started playing organ at the county fairs for various popular music stars.

Over the next several years, Daugherty studied at the University of North Texas College of Music, receiving a Bachelors of Music degree in 1976. He proceeded onto New York City to continue his education at the Manhattan School of Music where he received a Master of Music in Composition degree in 1978. He then went on to Yale and continue music studies with notable Pulitzer Prize winning composers such as Bernard Rand, Roger Reynolds and Mario Davidovsky.

Daugherty is an active educator of young composers and advocate for contemporary music. He has taught as an Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In 1991, he was invited to join the composition faculty at the University of Michigan School of Music. He has served as a judge for many distinguished composer competitions and a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and other arts organizations.

In addition, Daugherty has received numerous awards, distinctions, and fellowships for his music, including the Kennedy Center Freidheim Award, the Goddard Liberson Fellowship, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Daugherty is also the recipient of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer’s Award, the A.I. DuPont Award, “Outstanding Classical Composer” at the Detroit Music Awards, and the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award. His composition entitled “Metropolis Symphony” recorded by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra won three Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered (Classical) Album.

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