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Fri February 11, 2011
U of M Music Prof up for 5 Grammy Awards
Michigan artists will be well-represented at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13. Here's a brief list:
- Detroit rap star Eminem has been nominated for a record 10 Grammy Awards this year, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
- Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera and others will pay musical tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
- University of Michigan professor Michael Daugherty has been nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Best Classical Contemporary Composition for his piece "Deus ex Machina."
- Conductor and recent Michigan transplant, John McLaughlin Williams, is also nominated for a Grammy Award.
- Michigan State University ethnomusicology professor Isaac Kalumbu is nominated for a Grammy for best reggae album.
We caught up with Michael Daugherty before he boarded his plane to Los Angeles. He realizes the odds are good that he'll take home a Grammy statue, but, he says, you never know:
"I think there have been years where a film has been nominated for seven Oscars and walks away empty handed. But, like I said, it’s just great to be recognized."
You can listen to excerpts of his work here.
Though Metropolis Symphony is inspired by Superman, it doesn't focus exclusively on the man himself. "It's about the people around him, the environment around him," the composer says. "Only at the end, the 'Red Cape Tango' — the death of the Man of Steel — do we look directly at him."
The fourth movement, "O, Lois!" is a reference to Lois Lane, Superman's love interest and fellow reporter. It's the fastest of the movements — in fact, the tempo marking at the beginning reads, "faster than a speeding bullet." It's also perhaps the most overtly cartoonlike music in the composition. Daugherty says he drew inspiration from pop art and television shows such as Batman.
"There would be a crash, bang, boom — and there would be a cartoon spelling of that word," Daugherty says. "I do that in the percussion."
The classical Grammy Awards are given out Sunday afternoon before the live, TV broadcast at 8 p.m.