In the fall of 1982, Daugherty was invited by composer György Ligeti to study composition with him at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg . In addition to attending Ligeti’s composition seminar (which took place at his apartment in Hamburg), Daugherty traveled with Ligeti to attend concerts and festivals of his music throughout Europe.  At the time, Ligeti was interested in the music of Conlon Nancarrow , who lived in isolation in Mexico City and composed complex polyrhythmic music for player pianos. The player piano (by now an antique) was a familiar and nostalgic musical instrument to Daugherty. Daugherty met Nancarrow in Graz, Austria, when Ligeti introduced Nancarrow and his music to the European intelligentsia at the 1982 ISCM ( International Society for Contemporary Music ) World Music Days.  During the following two years (1983–84), Daugherty continued to study with Ligeti while employed as a solo jazz pianist in night clubs in Cambridge, England and Amsterdam. To create "original" music, Ligeti encouraged and inspired Daugherty to find new ways to integrate computer music , jazz, rock, and American popular music with concert music.  In the fall of 1984, Daugherty returned to America and devoted his career to doing just that.
In London, Pieter soon established himself as a prominent composer and violin soloist. London newspapers during his eight years there gave conspicuous notice to his frequent performances at such then-prestigious venues as Hickford's Rooms on Brower Street, and the many other venues set up by entrepreneurs to serve the interests of the widespread musical enthusiasm of English society. His prominence gained the attention and the acquaintance of George Frideric Handel , who on 13 February 1754 helped Pieter be paid for violin solos between the acts of Acis and Galatea ( HWV 49a/b).