William Dougherty

EarShot New York Philharmonic Biennial New Music Readings

photo credit: Cathy Pyle

William Dougherty(b. 1988) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1988 and currently resides in Basel, Switzerland. He has had his works performed internationally by ensembles including the Orchestre National de Lorraine, the BBC Singers, the London Chorus, the Lontano Ensemble, the Nemascae Lemanic Modern Ensemble, and the Ligeti String Quartet in venues such as the Southbank Centre in London, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and the Trinity Chapel in Fontainebleau, France. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and the Financial Times podcast ‘FT Science.’ Dougherty has received recognitions and awards from the BMI Student Composer Awards, the PRS for Music Society, Sound and Music, the King James Bible Trust, the American Composers Forum, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Le Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau, the Institute for European Studies (Vienna), and the UK Foreign Aid and Commonwealth Office. As a student of composition, William has studied and participated in masterclasses with composers such as Philippe Hurel, Hughes Dufourt, Beat Furrer, Pierluigi Billone, and Mark Andre. As a scholar, William has written and presented research into the life and works of Romanian composer, Horatiu Radulescu, in the UK and Switzerland. His recent article on Radulescu’s 5th String Quartet ‘before the universe was born’ can be found in the quarterly contemporary music journal, TEMPO.

William earned his B.M. degree in composition summa cum laude from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in 2010 where he studied with Richard Brodhead and Jan Krzywicki. As a Marshall Scholar, William earned his MMus in composition with distinction from the Royal College of Music, London in 2012 working with Mark-Anthony Turnage and Kenneth Hesketh. That same year, William pursued Ergänzungsstudium (complementary studies) with Georg Friedrich Haas at the Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel, where William still attends. In the fall of 2014, William will continue his studies with Georg Friedrich Haas as a doctoral student at Columbia University.

Into Focus is a work that seeks to aurally explore the three areas of visual perception known as the focus, fringe, and margin. These three regions of a human’s vision, depending on where the viewer’s attention is directed, have widely varying degrees of resolution and detail. Through a continual blending of harmonic blocks that fade in and out, in volume level, tuning, and instrumentation, Into Focus strives to evoke these blurry areas of visual perception through the medium of sound. From one harmony to the next, the listener is taken on a journey of continually unfolding perceptual interplay where tonal regions meld together, making a dense landscape of harmonic ambiguity and constant dynamism.