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Press Releases

Michael Daugherty's Mount Rushmore Premieres

January 28, 2010
Michael Daugherty explores the Black Hills of South Dakota and “The Greatest Generation” in his latest piece, Mount Rushmore. Commissioned by The Pacific Symphony with assistance from VocalEssence and The Phoenix Symphony, the 20-minute work for chorus and orchestra will receive its world premiere performances with The Pacific Symphony and Chorale under the baton of conductor Carl St. Clair, at 8:00 PM on February 4-6 at R&H Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA. There will be a concert preview talk at 7:00 PM before each performance.

Daugherty has set texts by George Washington, William Billings, Thomas Jefferson, Maria Cosway, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and divided the piece into four movements to reflect each of the four iconic American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore: I. George Washington, II. Thomas Jefferson, III. Theodore Roosevelt, IV. Abraham Lincoln. View a score sample.

Says Daugherty, “The American sculptor Gutzon Borglum supervised the carving of these figureheads into the granite mountainside of Mount Rushmore, from 1927 until his death in 1941. Created during the Great Depression (1927-1941) against seemingly impossible odds with a small crew of men, Mount Rushmore came to symbolize an attitude of hope against adversity. Borglum described the monument as ‘American, drawn from American sources, memorializing American achievement.’ Drawing from American musical sources and texts, my composition echoes the resonance and dissonance of Mount Rushmore as a complex icon of American history. Like Mount Rushmore, my libretto is carved out of the words of each President. MORE…

Daugherty is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with Pacific Symphony via the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. Looking ahead, Daugherty’s flute concerto Trail of Tears receives it world premiere on March 26 with flutist Amy Porter and the Omaha Symphony. For a complete list of performances of Daugherty works, click here.

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