Detail from "[Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Mrs. Bixby, with bust-length portrait of Lincoln]." Engraved by J. C. Buttre, photo by M.B. Brady. Prints and Photographs Division.
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954) is one of the most popular American composers of his generation. He is known for evocative compositions inspired by pop culture such as the Metropolis Symphony (1988-93) inspired by the Superman comic book, his opera Jackie O (1997) and the infamous Dead Elvis for solo bassoon and chamber ensemble (1993) which features a bassoonist dressed as Elvis Presley. Daugherty's orchestral song cycle Letters from Lincoln was premiered in February of 2009 in Spokane, Washington by baritone Thomas Hampson and Eckart Preu conducting the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.