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Robert Moran (1937-); USA

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Robert Moran

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Robert Moran was born in Denver, Colorado on January 8, 1937. His early studies were with E.Apostel in Vienna, where he focused on twelve-tone composition. In 1963, Moran completed his Masters Degree at Mills College, where his principal teachers were L.Berio and D.Milhaud. Upon graduation, Moran continued his association with Berio at La Scala in Milan, and then returned briefly to Vienna to sign a publishing contract with Universal Editions for various music-graphic works. Later that year, Moran returned to the U.S. and assumed a composition post at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, forming shortly thereafter the San Francisco New Music Ensemble, which he directed until 1972.

Moran's early notoriety came in August 1969, following the creation of a "city-work" for San Francisco, incorporating 100,000 performers, two radio stations, a television station, thirty skyscrapers, six airplanes, dance ensembles in the streets, etc. The success of this work soon led to a commission for a second "city-work," entitled Hallelujah, for the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in April 1971 - which incorporated all musical forces in the city, performing music based upon melodies of Moravian settlers to the region. A third "city-work," entitled Pachelbel Promenade, was later commissioned by the city of Graz, Austria, in 1975.

Following these early successes, Moran began an active composition career, with commissions from prestigious organizations, ensembles, and individuals throughout the U.S. and Europe - including the Berlin festival, the German government (for a work to be performed by children at the Marktplatz in Bonn), the Houston Grand Opera, the Minnesota Opera, the Seattle and Los Angeles Men's Choruses, the Greater Trenton Orchestra, the German record label BMG, and soprano R.Flemming.

Among Moran's principal works include The Eternal Hour (1972), for six choruses and six orchestras; Through Cloud and Eclipse (1974-75), a shadow puppet show; The Juniper Tree (1985), an opera co-composed with P.Glass; four other operas: Desert of Roses (1992), From the Towers of the Moon (1992), The Dracula Diary (1994), and Night Passage (1995); the orchestral works Obrigado (1996), written for the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy Center, and A Whitman Elegy (1996), for tenor and orchestra; several vocal works including Luna, four songs for voice and piano written for Ms. Flemming; Canticles (1999), for chorus, oboe, and string quartet, Three Baroque Songs (2000), premiered by British soprano N.W.Smyth, Seven Sounds Unseen (2000), for chorus; and Voices of the Last Seal (2000), on a text by King Ludwig II, for chorus and small chamber ensemble; and numerous chamber and dance works, including 32 Cryptograms for Derek Jarman, choreographed by A.Page for the Royal Ballet; Voce della Fontana (1998), for six keyboards, soprano, electric guitar, and flute/piccolo; Open Veins (1998), choreographed by V.Caniparoli for the Atlanta Ballet; Requiem: Chant du cygne (2000), for 4 choruses and 4 chamber orchestras; and Rocky Road to Kansas (2000), choreographed by M.Neenan for the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Moran has been composer-in-residence in Berlin; Buffalo, NY; and Northwestern University. His music has been recorded on the Argos, Nonesuch, and Polygram labels. He currently lives in Philadelphia, and travels frequent around the U.S., Europe, and parts of Asia and South America for premieres of his works, and to give lectures. A more complete chronology/biography of Robert Moran is available on his own website.

Robert Moran

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