Discipline: Music Composition

Celius Dougherty

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932

Celius Hudson Dougherty (1902-1986) was born in Minnesota. He was born to William Francis Dougherty and Louise Martha Dougherty. Celius was interested in music and poetry from childhood. He claimed that he wrote his first song when he was seven years old. He was part of a musical family, and his mother, a music teacher and church musician, organized her seven children into a band. Celius performed as accompanist for one of his mother's song recitals at age ten.

He graduated with a B.A.degree, from the University of Minnesota where he studied piano with Donald Ferguson and composition. As an undergraduate, he performed his own piano concerto with the school orchestra. In 1924 he won the "Schubert Prize" for piano performance, sponsored by the Schubert Club. He used that scholarship to continue his studies at the Julliard School.

In New York, where he lived for nearly fifty years, he performed his piano Sonata in E Flat at Aeolian Hall in 1925 and his Sonata for Violin and Piano in 1930. As a result of the latter performance, he was given the privilege of working at the MacDowell during the summers of 1931, 1932 and 1933.

Dougherty composed one opera, about 200 songs, and a few instrumental works. Since their creation, his songs have been considered excellent for student singers and are often heard on American recital programs.



Celius Dougherty worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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