William Dougherty is an American composer, sound artist, educator, writer, and current Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Dougherty's works have been performed internationally by ensembles including BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Glasgow), The Sun Ra Arkestra (Philadelphia), Yarn/Wire (New York), Ensemble Phoenix (Basel), TILT Brass (New York), Ensemble for New Music Tallinn (Estonia), JACK Quartet (New York), and Talea Ensemble (New York). His music has been featured in festivals such as Tectonics Glasgow (2023), IRCAM's ManiFeste (2019), musikprotokoll (2018), Donaueschingen Musiktage (2017), New Music Miami (2017), Tectonics Festival New York (2015), the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (2015), the 47th Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt (2014), the New York Philharmonic Biennale (2014), and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 

Dougherty was the recipient of the Luciano Berio Rome Prize in Music Composition from the American Academy in Rome. He has received additional recognitions, awards, and fellowships from the Columbia University's Institute for Ideas & Imagination, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, the Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik (IGNM/ISCM), the Aaron Copland House, SEAMUS/ASCAP, BMI, PARMA Recordings, the PRS for Music Society, the American Composers Forum, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, the Institute for European Studies, and the UK Foreign Aid and Commonwealth Office. William has been invited to attend composition courses at Acanthes, Fontainebleau, Royaumont, and IMPULS. He earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at Columbia University in New York City.

Dougherty has contributed regular feature music programs to WKCR-FM New York and has published articles, reviews, and interviews in Tempo (Cambridge University Press), Music & Literature, and VAN Magazine. He is currently guest co-editing a forthcoming special issue of Contemporary Music Review on the music of Éliane Radigue—the first major English-language journal to focus exclusively on her work. He is also the Editor-in-chief of openwork, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal that publishes research into experimental music, art, and scholarship.

As an educator, Dougherty has taught and assisted undergraduate courses in composition, music technology, and music theory at Columbia University. In 2020, William designed a new course Reimagining Resistance: Sound as Subversion in 20th and 21st Century American Experimentalism as a Teaching Scholar of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves on the composition faculty at Temple University. Outside of the university, Dougherty gives private lessons and volunteers as a music instructor and mentor for high school and elementary school students from underserved communities in Philadelphia. He currently serves as a teaching artist in composition for the Marian Anderson Young Artist Program—a tuition-free program that "aims to serve those individuals whose communities have historically been excluded from the highest levels of musical excellence due to structural barriers." Most recently, he designed the curriculum for a new six-week summer course for young composers at Play on Philly.

Committed to community music-making, Dougherty has served in a wide range of musical capacities outside of the world of art music. Among his many engagements, Dougherty has played piano for early childhood music classes at the Little London Music School, served as the Principal Organist and Choir Director of St. Mary Magdalen's Church in England, and written and performed original music for a children's puppet show at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. As Founder and Director of the Philadelphia Community Orchestra, Dougherty currently leads an instrumental ensemble—open to all ages and skill levels—that focuses on experimental, improvised, and alternative music-making in Center City Philadelphia.

Dougherty graduated with a Bachelor’s in Music Composition from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia where he studied with Maurice Wright, Richard Brodhead, and Jan Krzywicki. As a Marshall Scholar, Dougherty earned his Master’s from the Royal College of Music in London studying with Kenneth Hesketh and Mark-Anthony Turnage after which he completed supplementary studies (Ergänzungsstudium) under the guidance of Georg Friedrich Haas at the Hochschule für Musik Basel in Switzerland. In 2018-19, William completed the Cursus Programme in composition and computer music at IRCAM in Paris while in residence at Cité Internationale des Arts.