About Carman Moore
The New York Times, in a glowing review of his Magical Circles, called Carman Moore a composer who not only defies categories, but “treats them with disdain.” The reviewer continued,“Mr. Moore has a lot of music in his head, the product of his upbringing in black culture, his classical training and his voracious curiosity, and in his multi-media extravaganzas he finds some distinctly odd and wonderful places for it.” A Village Voicecritic, reviewing another concert of Moore’s music, wrote “If all new music were so professional, so tightly-written, so patently made to gratify the ear rather than theories, mandates, and pretensions, the market for dead people’s music would collapse.”
Born in Lorain, Ohio and growing up in nearby Elyria, Carman Moore earned his Bachelor of Music Degree at Ohio State Univ. before moving to New York City, where he studied composition privately with Hall Overton and at the Juilliard School with Luciano Berio and Vincent Persichetti where he earned his Masters Degree with distinction. Moore then began composing for symphony and chamber ensembles while writing lyrics for pop songs, gradually adding opera, theatre, dance and film scores to his body of work. His work in popular music included lyrics and arrangements for ex-Rascals leader Felix Cavaliere both on Cavaliere’s first solo album FELIX CAVALIERE, his second DESTINY, and on the Foghat single “Rock’n’Roll Outlaws.”
Among Moore’s early commissioned symphonic works were Wildfires and Field Songs for the New York Philharmonic conducted by Pierre Boulez and Gospel Fuse for the San Francisco Symphony with Seiji Ozawa conducting and Cissy Houston the vocal soloist. Among other of his works for symphony orchestra have been Concerto for Blues Piano and Orchestra (for Jay McShann); Four Movements for A Five-Toed Dragon, conducted by Isaiah Jackson with the American Symphony Orchestra and The Symphony of the Sorbonne (Paris); Hit; A Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (Jackson and the Rochester Philharmonic); and Concerto for Flute, Pi-pa, and Orchestra (premiere pending). In 1980 Mr. Moore founded the innovative electro-acoustic SKYMUSIC ENSEMBLE, which since has performed in America, Europe and Asia, including at La Scala in Milan, Geneva’s Made-In-America Festival, and at the 9th Hong Kong Ready-to-Wear Show. Based in New York City, SKYMUSIC ENSEMBLE, for which Moore acts as conductor and principal composer, appears at venues ranging from the Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors Festival to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where Moore and the Ensemble were Artists-in-Residence for many years. The ENSEMBLE was featured in concert at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors on August 15, 2007. In May 2017 SKYMUSIC ENSEMBLE appeared in a special Look and Listen Festival concert curated by new-music radio presenter Terrance McKnight at Harlem's Studio Museum. Featured was the world premiere of Carman's "Morningside Mystique" with its deep bow to the green area where Harlem begins and its pre history, Native American, and African-American roots.
Carman Moore for the new SKYBAND has recently created DON AND BEA IN LOVE, a dramatic pop concept album about Dante and his Beatrice, in part set in Outer Space.
Moore’s multi-stylistic chamber work SHE (AN APPRECIATION) for soprano, clarinet, violin, and piano was commissioned and premiered by the Continuum Ensemble in 2011 and is an appreciation of the world’s women. In September 2011 his 3-movement CONCERTO FOR ORNETTE was premiered at the Juilliard School by the New Juilliard Ensemble to great acclaim. Mr. Moore’s latest creations include GRANDMA SAGE AND HER MAGIC MUSIC ROOM, an adventure story for children about the history of jazz written in collaboration with Eleana Tee Cobb and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Janet Lawson. In 2012 Mr. Moore was elected a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, where he created REQUIEM FOR LA LUPE, honoring the great Cuban singing star and salsa pioneer.
Moore's symphonic MADIBA was commissioned in 2015 and premiered by The American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Then in April 2017 the work, expanded for a ballet choreographed by Jeremy McQueen, was performed to high acclaim at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Also in February 2017 his "Berenice" variations on theme by Handel was performed by The Da Capo Chamber Players at Merkin Hall in NYC.
Carman Moore’s intermedia Mass for the 21st Century (with libretto by the composer) was commissioned by Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, where, at its enthusiastically-received 1994 outdoor performances conducted by the composer, the Mass attracted one of the largest audiences in Lincoln Center history. In December of 1999 it was performed at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Cape Town, South Africa and in New York at the Winter Garden on the World Financial Center’s Millennium Series. Moore’s choral compositions include two commissions for the Gregg Smith Singers---The Sorrow of Love for double chorus and piano and the spirituals-inflected Follow Light.
In the Spring of 2002 Moore’s large intermedia work for children RASUR (GOD OF PEACE) was premiered in San Jose, Costa Rica. RASUR was commissioned and sponsored by the U.N. University for Peace and the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture. Moore’s music theatre work also includes “Distraughter, or the Great Panda Scanda” and “Club Paradise,” collaborations with the distinguished playwright Charles “Oyamo” Gordon. In 1998 he scored a libretto by Ishmael Reed for the gospel opera,Gethsemane Park, which played in San Francisco’s Elaine Hansberry Theatre and at New York’s Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe during the summer of 2000. A previous collaboration of Moore, Reed, and poet Colleen McElroy, the musical Wild Gardens of The Loup Garou, was commissioned by the Music Theatre Group/Lenox Arts Centre and subsequently produced both at New York’s Judson Memorial Church and at the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco. Moore’s comic opera The Last Chance Planet, for which he also served as librettist, received over 70 performances in 1994 by the Dayton Opera Company during Moore’s year as Composer-in-Residence to the City of Dayton, Ohio. In summer 2005 his score to the children’s musical Oriundina, text by Lella Heins, was showcased in New York Çity. Among Moore’s scores for theatre have been Yale Rep’s production of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens (starring James Earl Jones and directed by Lloyd Richards), When The Bough Breaks at LaMama E.T.C. directed by Lawrence Sacharow, and The Burial At Thebes (Sophocles/Heaney) directed by Alec Harrington for the Clemson University Theatre Department in February 2006 and for LaMama Theatre in January 2007.
Well-known as a composer for dance, Carman Moore served from 1986-1995 as Master Composer and Co-director of the American Dance Festival’s Young Choreographers and Composers Residency Program. Among his scores for dance areGoddess of the Waters, choreographed by Alvin Ailey for the Ballet Company of La Scala; Memories for Anna Sokolow ; Salon for Garth Fagan; The Mourning Kissfor Susana Tambutti of Argentina’s Nucleodanza;Concertos for Eun-Mi Cho of Korea; Lunar Transformations for Cleo Parker Robinson; Vehicle for Mark Dendy; Love Notes To Central Park with Sarah Pearson/Patrik Widig; Touch-Turn-Return for the American Tap Dance Orchestra, and several major works for Donald Byrd and Ruby Shangwith whom he was awarded coveted Meet-the-Composer Readers Digest Composer/Choreographer Awards. Highly-regarded for his scoring of documentary films, Moore’s scores include PBS-aired documentaries The Other Side of The Moon (for the 20th anniversary of the first moon landing), Building Hope (on post-W.War II U.S. neighborhoods), Masters of Meditation (honoring 5 faith traditions) for The Temple of Understanding and Hartley Films, and for the United Nations he created the score to Our Planet Earth, for several years a regular feature on UNTV.
Mr. Moore’s score to Michiyo Sato’s dance drama The Plum Tree Is In Bloom (for the centennial of Tsuda College, Japan’s first private women’s college) was premiered in Tokyo in October of 2000, and his work for string trio and synthesizer The Mystery of Tao was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and had its world premiere in 2001 as part of their Millennium series honoring 52 leading New York composers. For the Minneapolis-based Vocal Essence he created a libretto for a choral/dance work TRUTH on the life of Sojourner Truth to music by Alvin Singleton, premiered in February 2006. Carman Moore and Oyamo’s innovative musical The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, set in the 1919 New Orleans area, was produced by the esteemed Seattle Children’s Theatre during ’06-07 and received some 80 performances. In2007 performances of the musical theatre works CLUB PARADISE (at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.) and THE BURIAL AT THEBES (at La MaMa Theatre in Manhattan) took place. Also in 2007 Moore led the Skymusic Ensemble at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival in a memorial concert for ex-Skymusicians Leroy Jenkins and Mark Heinemann. His string trio BLUE…RED…GREEN was premiered in October 2007 at the Chatham, N.Y. Leaf Peeper Festival and repeated in August 2008 at N.Y.’s Museum of Modern Art Summergarden. His PIANO SONATA #2 was premiered in February 2008 by Anthony Newton for Musica De Camara at The Museum of the City of New York.
[Event with Louis Armstrong and Carman] Carman Moore has served as Board member and/or adjudicator for several major organizations, including Composers Forum, the Society of Black Composers (of which he was a Founder), the N.Y. State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1988 he was honored by Mayor David Dinkins with the Borough of Manhattan award for excellence in the arts and community service. During the 1980s Moore also served as arranger and Music Director for various divisions of IBM. In addition he has been music critic and columnist for the Village Voice and has contributed to The New York Times, The Saturday Review of Literature, Vogue, and Essence among others. Recordings of Moore’s self-performed meditational works, HOME and INTERFAITH MEDITATIONS, which honors 11 major faith traditions, are presently available via Rhapsody.com. Also recorded is his THE SPIRIT OF KRISHNA, which features readings by Sharon Hamilton from the Bhagavad Gita.
In 2013 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, for which he is creating the mystical TAO21 for orchestra, choir, and singing actors.