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Kermit Moore: Biography

Kermit Moore, cellist

Please note: the following biography was published by The Musicians Club of New York in a program guide to a December 4, 2007 concert at Christ and St. Stephens Church, 120 W. 69th Street, New York City; musicians participating in this concert included – in addition to Kermit Moore – Stephen Graff, Humbert Lucarelli, David Oei, Daniel Pereira, and Eriko Sato.

Since making his spectacular recital debut in New York's Town Hall at the age of nineteen, Kermit Moore has won the hearts of music lovers the world over. He has concertized throughout the United States from Maine, where he appeared at the Monteux Festival, to the state of California where he gave a concert on the prestigious recital series at the University of Berkeley.

Mr. Moore has been heard with major European orchestras, such as the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the National Radio Symphony of [France], the Belgian National Orchestra, and several Scandinavian, Dutch and French ensembles. High public and critical praise followed these concerts, as well as his numerous recitals. He has concertized in the Far East and Africa, as well. He has given recitals of modern music at New York's Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, and in universities throughout the United States and in major European cities.

Peter G. Davis, then chief critic of The New York Times, wrote: "Mr. Moore vaulted every technical hurdle of his formidable recital with disarming ease, and he instinctively found a precise stylistic voice for each composer. He is a virtuoso cellist, a sensitive musician and something of a hero."

As a conductor, Mr. Moore has been no less impressive. He has conducted in New York's Philharmonic Hall on many occasions. He also had the honor of conducting the New York Festival Orchestra in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. Among his soloists have been the famed violinist, Ruggiero Ricci, George Shirley of the Metropolitan Opera, Olga Iglesias, Puerto Rico's leading soprano, and famed jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

The New York Times said of Mr. Moore, "He has sensible and sensitive ideas about all the works on the program." The New York Post wrote: "Mr. Moore conducted with authority and conviction." The National Music Journal wrote: "Kermit Moore's authoritative conducting had muscle to spare and the orchestra responded in convincing manner. Mr. Moore is to be congratulated for selecting a demanding, difficult program…and managing to enthrall the appreciative assemblage."

Mr. Moore's conducting expertise is also impressive in the field of ballet. He conducted for the Arthur Mitchell Dance Theatre of Harlem during the 1975 season at the ANTA Theatre on Broadway in New York. He also led the first performance of the opera Nela by Manuel Gonzales to excellent critical acclaim.

A true Renaissance man, Kermit Moore is also a composer of note. His works include compositions for symphony orchestras, solo works for cello, a flute sonata, a timpani concerto and two string quartets.

Born in Akron, Ohio, he was an honors graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and New York University. He was a pupil of Felix Salmond at the Juilliard School and of Paul Bazelaire at the Paris Conservatory. His professors include: George Enesco, Pierre Pasquier, and Nadia Boulanger. Mr. Moore was on the faculty of the University of Hartford (Connecticut) for three years. There he taught cello and was a member of the String Quartet in residence.

A man of unusually widespread activity and interest, Mr. Moore was one of the founders and conductors of the Symphony of the New World. He and his wife are two of the five founders of the Society of Black Composers. His extensive research has brought to light the works of many composers, past and present.

Many honors and awards have been bestowed on Kermit Moore. He won the Edgar Stillman Kelly Award in Ohio and the Lili Boulanger Award in Paris. At the end of an invitational recital for Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, he was presented with a medal, cast by order of the Queen, by the Société d'Artistes Professionels Belges.

The atmosphere at the Moore home is intensely musical. His wife, Dorothy Rudd Moore, is one of the most prolific women composers in the United States.

Mr. Moore possesses a truly beautiful cello made by the Italian master Francesco Ruggieri of Cremona in the year 1698.


PARTIAL LIST OF COMPOSITIONS BY KERMIT MOORE

  • Caravaggio Revisited for Cello and Piano
  • Five Songs for DRM (for soprano and piano, based on poems by Dorothy Rudd Moore)
  • Many Thousand Gone (for chorus, flute, string orchestra, and percussion)
  • Mombasa Ostinata for Strings
  • Music for Cello and Piano
  • Music for Flute and Piano
  • Music for Horn, Strings, and Percussion
  • Music for Timpani and Orchestra (for timpani, multiple percussion, and full symphony orchestra)
  • Music for Two Violas and Piano
  • Music for Viola, Piano, and Percussion
  • Quincentra (for string quartet and piano)
  • Res Maximae (for percussion and strings)
  • Trois Tableaux (for cello and piano)
  • Scenes from a Journey for Cello and Chamber Orchestra
  • De Natura Naturae (for String Quintet and Wind Quintet)

Please note: the first thirteen works from the above list were taken from 21st-Century Cellists (edited by Stacey Lynn and published in 2001 by String Letter Publishing, Inc.), which contains a "Kermit Moore" chapter (pp. 37-49) by Edith Eisler that is devoted exclusively to her comments on Kermit Moore and to an excellent, very informative 1993 interview she conducted with him; the above-listed musical works appear on pages 40 and 43 of that highly recommended chapter. The book itself features chapters on such other distinguished cellists as Pieter Wispelwey and Yo-Yo Ma. Readers interested in Mr. Moore and his compositions may contact him through Rud/Mor Publishing Company, 33 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10023. – VK-Y

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