The music of Michael Daugherty (b. 1954) music borrows from all forms of American popular culture, from Barbie to Liberace. He is widely acclaimed as a gifted composer with a truly original voice. He is currently a Professor of composition of the University of Michigan, for whose excellent bands he has produced much original music.
Daugherty wrote Alligator Alley in 2003 on a commission from the American Composers Forum for their educational BandQuest series. He wrote it as a bassoon feature for his daughter, who was then in middle school. It has quickly gained popularity as both a bassoon feature and Daugherty’s only work accessible to younger bands.
There is a good recording (accurate, if not exactly spirited) from Hal Leonard. Don’t mind the beeps during the piece. These are Hal Leonard’s effort at copy protection.
Now on YouTube: bad versions of this piece abound, since it purports to be a middle school piece. But this performance is good. Don’t mind the trash-talkers in the comments: this band gets it mostly right!
BONUS: an interview with Michael Daugherty about all aspects of music. This is just part one – if you like it, check out the rest!
This was a Senior Choice picked by bassoonist Eric Hirsch ’09.