Michael Hennagin

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Michael Hennagin (17 September 1936 – 4 June 1993) was an American composer and university professor.

Life and career[edit]

Hennagin was born in The Dalles, Oregon.

Hennagin began his professional career as a Hollywood composer and arranger working in film and television. He wrote soundtracks for The DuPont Show of the Week and the television series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea".[1] He composed ballet scores for the Lester Horton Dance Theater[2] in Los Angeles and incidental music for stage productions in New York City and Los Angeles. He composed in all media from full orchestra works to small chamber pieces and solo songs.[3]

Hennagin wrote music for instrumental and vocal music including frequently performed pieces for choir, symphonic band and orchestra, and percussion ensemble. He was commissioned several times by the Gregg Smith Singers. He was named National Composer of the Year in 1975 by the Music Teachers National Association.[4] He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He studied composition with Darius Milhaud and Aaron Copland. His Duo Chopinesque for Percussion Ensemble and Walking on the Green Grass for Choir are performed frequently.

He received awards from American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recognizing his continued commercial influence and success.

He studied composition at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at summer festivals in Aspen and Tanglewood. His teachers included Aaron Copland and Darius Milhaud.

He came to the University of Oklahoma in 1972 where he was composer-in-residence and taught composition until his retirement in 1992. He retired, in part, to devote more time to his composing and accept new commissions. For his last work, "Proud Music," he returned to the poetry of Walt Whitman. For "Proud Music", he combined the texts of Whitman's "Proud Music of the Storm" and "I Hear America Singing". His compositions are published by Walton Music, Southern Music Company, and Boosey and Hawkes.

Shortly before his death, Ohio State University honored him with a week-long festival and he traveled to New York City where The Gregg Smith Singers premiered a new choral work at Carnegie Hall.[4]

Hennagin died suddenly in his home on 11 June 1993.[5]

Students of Michael Hennagin[edit]

The Michael Hennagin Prize in Composition[edit]

The Michael Hennagin Prize in Composition is awarded biennially by the University of Oklahoma.

  • 2005 Éric Champagne, Champ-de-Mars, par jour de lumière
  • 2003 Christopher Palestrant, Lesbia Catulli
  • 2001 Joseph Blaha, The Night Watch
  • 1999 Dana Wilson, Primal Worlds


  1. ^ Official bio, University of Oklahoma, by Carolyn Bremer
  2. ^ Lester Horton Dance Theater Collection, Library of Congress
  3. ^ Catalog of works, Boosey and Hawkes, Walton Music, Southern Music Company
  4. ^ a b New York Times, January 25, 1994
  5. ^ The Oklahoman, 1993


  • Bates, Cheryl; Analyses of Selected Published Choral Works of Michael Hennagin Dissertation, University of Houston, 2005.

External links[edit]