Composer makes music one note at a time

If you're walking on campus today (April 14), you might be asked to take note — literally.

A clarinetist from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra won't ask those passing by about a particular composition, just a particular musical note. (Likely places for the clarinetist include the Diag and North Campus near the School of Music.)

After U-M students select about a dozen or so notes, the sounds will be assembled into a peculiar melody by Michael Daughtery, professor of composition, and one of the most performed and commissioned American composers of the past two decades.

The DSO commissioned and premiered Daughterty's second symphony, "MotorCity Triptych," in 2000.

A crew from Detroit Public Television (WTVS-56) will film the clarinetist interaction with students. Later in the day, the crew will move to Daughterty's home studio, where he will explain his composition process.

The randomly chosen notes likely will be put through Daughtery's sophisticated techniques and polyrhythmic layering, trademarks of his compositional style.

The April 14 segment, "How is Music Composed," is the first episode of a new program, "Making Music with Leonard Slatkin and the DSO."

The show is expected to air WTVS-56 in the fall.