William Dougherty is an American composer, sound artist, and writer. His creative work engages with elements of loss, decay, and memory through the sounds of audio recordings and audio recording technologies. With a particular interest in collaborative and community-based models of composition, Dougherty’s work questions notions of authorship, agency, and the work concept.
At the Institute, Dougherty is composing a multimedia composition for choir, brass, drum line, and prerecorded voices that reflects on the ongoing wave of gun violence in Philadelphia. The work will be crafted in close collaboration with community groups and the families of the victims of gun violence.
Dougherty has received recognitions and awards from the American Academy in Rome, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Cité internationale des arts, Columbia University’s Institute for Ideas and Imagination, and Copland House. His works have been performed internationally by such ensembles as BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Contemporary Players, and Talea Ensemble. Dougherty has published articles and interviews in Music & Literature, Tempo, and VAN Magazine, and he is coeditor of a forthcoming special issue of Contemporary Music Review on the music of Éliane Radigue. Dougherty holds degrees from Temple University and the Royal College of Music, and he completed additional studies at the Hochschule für Musik Basel and Ircam, in Paris. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree from Columbia University, where he then served on the music faculty as an Early Career Fellow in 2021–2022.