Composer Michael Daugherty writes music as American as bald eagle apple pie. He's penned pieces about Superman, Route 66, Elvis, Jackie O, Mount Rushmore, Las Vegas and many other iconic 'Merica-tinged places, people or eras. His next effort will be unveiled by the New Century Chamber orchestra in San Francisco this Saturday, which musically captures the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (it will also be repeated next Friday in Berkeley and in San Rafael on Sunday) . Titled Falling Water, after the iconic house, Daugherty's latest is a violin concerto for string orchestra, featuring Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg soloing her signature hard-driving intensity and potent violinistic chops.
Daugherty studied with Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti or Charles Wuorinen by day and worked as a jazz pianist by night, and his music reflects this collision of the modern and the popular. We talked to Daugherty from Ann Arbor, where he teaches composition at the University of Michigan.