Some of Celius Dougherty's most popular songs are folk song and sea shanty arrangements.
"I love poetry. I love what poetry suggests to me in the way of music. The first thing that I wrote was a song. When I was ten years old, I wrote a song." ~ Celius Dougherty
Image: Celius Dougherty, http://www.celiusdougherty.org
Born in Glennwood, Minnesota, Celius Dougherty studied first at the University of Minnesota and then at The Juilliard School. While studying in New York, a city which he would call his home for more than fifty years, Dougherty made the acquaintance of many singers and became an accomplished recital accompanist. Upon finishing his studies, Dougherty toured the country performing with some of the most popular opera and classical singers of the era, including Alexander Kipnis, Eva Gauthier, Nina Kochetz, Igor Gorin, Florance Easton, Richard Crooks, Edward Johnson, Grete Stuckgold and, from 1927-46, Povla Frijsh.
In 1939, Dougherty formed a piano duo with Vincenz Ruzicka, and the two toured America (and also performed in Vienna). They made their name premieres of avant-garde works for two pianos, such as: Hindemith's Sonata for Two Pianos, Stravinsky's Sonata for Two Pianos, Berg's Suite from Lulu Schoenberg's Variations on a Recitative.
While Dougherty wrote several instrumental and choral pieces, he is best known for his approximately 200 songs. Most notably, William Warfield recorded Dougherty's Sea Chanties with Aaron Copland.
Sources of inspiration for Dougherty's songs include American poets, like Walt Whitman, e. e. Cummings, Amy Lowell, and Robert Frost as well as essays by children, Chinese poetry, the dictionary, newspapers, spirituals, and, especially, folksongs.
--Christie Finn Source: http://www.celiusdougherty.org