Kermit Moore

1929 - 2013


Kermitt Moore (1929 – 2013) is a cellist, conductor and composer who in all three capacities was concerned with music rooted in the black experience. Born in Akron, Ohio, on March 11, 1929, He began piano lessons with his mother at 5 and at 10 took up the cello. While still in high school, Mr. Moore studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music; by the time he was 19, he was playing solo recitals in New York. In Manhattan, Mr. Moore studied the cello with Felix Salmond at the Juilliard School while simultaneously studying composition and musicology at New York University, from which he received a master’s degree. He later studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Mr. Moore’s other cello teachers included Paul Bazelaire, Gregor Piatigorsky and Pablo Casals. He studied composition in France with Nadia Boulanger and conducting at Tanglewood with Serge Koussevitzky. In 1949 Mr. Moore became the principal cellist of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, one of only a few African-Americans in the United States to hold such a post. He taught at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, the Harlem School of the Arts and elsewhere. He was also the founder and conductor of the Classical Heritage Ensemble, a chamber orchestra specializing in rarely performed classical works. As a composer, Mr. Moore was known for “Many Thousand Gone,” for strings, flute, percussion and chorus; string quartets; and several pieces for the cello, an instrument that has long been painfully underrepresented in the solo literature. His recordings include works by Brahms and Mendelssohn as well as those by his wife, Dorothy Rudd Moore, and himself. He can also be heard on many jazz and pop albums and, as a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, the soundtrack for the 1982 film “Koyaanisqatsi.”

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Works by Kermit Moore:

I Want Jesus to Walk Wid Me