University of Pittsburgh
November 22, 2005

Pitt Faculty Composer Eric Moe Donates his Music Manuscripts to the University's Music Library


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Professor Eric Moe, senior composer of contemporary art music on the University of Pittsburgh music faculty, has donated the manuscripts of all his musical works to date to Pitt's Theodore M. Finney Music Library, part of the University Library System.

Moe's 50 donated works from 1979 to the present include sketches, typically done in pencil as the first steps in a composition; fair copies, sketches that are more fleshed out; and computer-generated holographs, music produced from an electronic music writing program. Some of the manuscripts have never been published.

James Cassaro, head of Pitt's music library, says the manuscripts are valuable documentation that will allow generations of scholars to study Moe's compositions from initial conception to final product.

"Because so many contemporary composers are using music writing programs to compose, having the sketches and fair copies really allows a researcher to see the thought process of the composer unfold," says Cassaro, adding that this thought process is lost when composers use the electronic method only. "After a first performance, a composer makes changes. It's a very organic process. This will show us how the composer relates to the process of producing a musical work."

The collection includes a copy of No Time Like the Present (1996), a work commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for its then-incoming music director Mariss Jansons, who conducted the PSO in the work's world premiere performance in February 1998.

Moe has been characterized by the New York Times as a composer of "music of winning exuberance." He is a founding member of the San Francisco-based EARPLAY ensemble, codirector of Pitt's Music on the Edge concert series, and director of Pitt's graduate program in composition.

He is the recipient of the Rhonda and Walter Lakond Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as grants from the Fromm Foundation, Meet-the-Composer USA, the Koussevitzky Foundation, and others.

His Sonnets to Orpheus was featured on the Works & Process series at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 2000. Most recently, his one-woman opera Tri-Stan was hailed by the New York Times as "a blockbuster" and a "tour de force." Moe has been featured on a number of recordings; two recent all-Moe CDs on the Albany Records label include Kicking and Screaming and Up & At 'Em. His most recent CD as a solo pianist, also on Albany Records, is The Waltz Project Revisited-New Waltzes for Piano, a recording of works by two generations of American composers that was acclaimed by Gramophone Magazine, which wrote, "Moe's command of the varied styles is nothing short of remarkable."

Moe joined Pitt's music faculty in 1989. Prior to assuming his position at Pitt, he was a faculty member at San Francisco State University and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He received the Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in composition from the University of California, Berkeley, and the A.B. in Music degree from Princeton University. Moe has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Bellagio, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Millay Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, Montana Artists Refuge, and American Dance Festival.