Carman Moore and The Skymusic Ensemble


What do Sam Rivers, Elliott Randall, Ron Carter, Leroy Jenkins, J. Eric Johnson, Cissy Huston, Ken Bichel,  Hubert Laws, Richard Davis, Ornette Coleman, Premik Russell Tubbs, Marianna Rosett, Brian Lee, Warren Smith, Eli Fountain, Charles Burnham, Gordon Gottleib, Daisy Jopling, Dale Kleps, Linda Wetherill, Kyle Jones,  Kitty Hay,  Wynton Marsalis, Seiji Ozawa,Hannah Somers-Jones, Pierre Boulez, The New York Philharmonic  and The San Francisco Symphony  have in common? They have all worked with and for world-renowned composer 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 Voice critic, 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.
   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 Dep’t. in Feb. 2006 and for LaMama Theatre in Jan. 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 are Goddess of the Waterschoreographed by Alvin Ailey for the Ballet Company of La Scala;  Memories for Anna Sokolow ; Salon for Garth Fagan; The Mourning Kiss for 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 Shang  with 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.
   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, both through his web site and via Also recorded is his THE SPIRIT OF KRISHNA, which features readings by Sharon Hamilton from the Bhagavad Gita.                                                   
   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.  In  2007 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.
   Carman Moore is presently creating a pop music album based in Outer Space and featuring Dante and Beatrice for the new SKYBAND. And he has just completed CONCERTO FOR ORNETTE AND ORCHESTRA for jazz legend and 2006 Pulitzer prize winner Ornette Coleman.  Mr. Moore has also recently received a fellowship from the N.Y. State Council on the Arts for a commissioned work for the Continuum Ensemble…and as well received a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship to work in Italy Summer 2010.



Carman Moore & Ornette Coleman
    World-renowned Composer, Conductor Carman Moore, (Masters of Music  Composition, with Honors, from The Juilliard School of Music) has written a major new composition entitled Concerto for Ornette.  One prays for good seats to witness the birth of a  new musical genre. Two of the planets musical giants  will be dovetailing a composed piece of new music by Maestro Moore with Ornette Coleman, through his sax, violin or trumpet, singing his singular and revolutionary sound of harmolodics (Sound Grammar)  as counterpoint  to Moore's Concerto. As Ornette Coleman rightly noted of  Maestro Moore, during a 2008 Rolling Stone interview at his loft in W. Manhattan,  "Carman Moore is the greatest composer, not just in New York, but the whole world."


A dedicated educator, Moore has taught at the Yale University School of Music, Queens and Brooklyn Colleges, Carnegie-Mellon University, Manhattanville College, and The New School for Social Research.  Particularly interested in reaching out to children, he spent several years in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s as a teaching artist for Lincoln Center and Jazzmobile and at The Dalton School.  Moore conducted his work and lectured in New York public schools with the Lincoln Center Institute, which commissioned his The Magic Turn Around Town and Save the Dragon.  In 1995 he served as consultant to Wynton Marsalis on his popular PBS-broadcast home video series for children, Marsalis On Music. In the summer of 2005 Moore and his 10-year-old granddaughter Alexandra performed “Ally’s Rap For Peace” at the United Nations Youth Leadership Conference to a standing ovation.  He is also the author of two youth-oriented books:  Somebody’s Angel Child:  The Story of Bessie Smith (Dell), and Rock-It (a music history and theory book for Alfred Music Publishers). 

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