Kermit Moore, in Memoriam

Cello, Composition, Conducting

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Kermit Diton Moore (1929-2013) was an extraordinary talent and a reliably inventive Member and Board Member of the Musicians Club of New York. Below are links to obituaries, articles and performances of this great classical musician. Please make suggestions for further links by emailing
Programs for Musicians Club of New York:
A couple of credits that are not mentioned in the above articles: Kermit Moore, along with his wife Dorothy Rudd Moore and several others, founded the Society of Black Composers. Mr. Moore was also the founder of the Classical Heritage Ensemble.

Kermit Moore has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a conductor, cellist and composer. He has been a frequent guest conductor of symphony orchestras, ballet companies and opera societies over the last two decades.

Kermit Moore served as Project Director, frequent conductor, and was one of the founders of the Symphony of the New World (SNW) in New York. He conducted the SNW in the premiere of his composition, Many Thousand Gone, a work for chorus, flute, percussion and strings. This composition has subsequently been performed by many orchestral societies throughout the United States. In 1974, Mr. Moore presented, with the SNW, a very historic concert at Philharmonic Hall in New York. After much research and through the tireless efforts of Dr. Paul Glass of Brooklyn College, the Violin Concerto of the black Cuban composer Joseph White (1839-1920) was found. Mr. Moore engaged the virtuoso violinist Ruggiero Ricci to perform the solo part with him. This was the U.S. premiere of a work of great originality and style by this 19th-century black composer. Many works by composers past and present have first seen the light of day, in respect to performance, in concerts conducted by Kermit Moore.

Mr. Moore had the honor of conducting the Festival Orchestra of New York in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. There he conducted his own Many Thousand Gone and works by 18th-century black Brazilian composers from the region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. His chorus was the combined Glee Clubs of Morehouse and Spelman Universities of Atlanta. He also led a distinguished group of soloists including tenor George Shirley and baritone Rawn Spearman.

In recent years, Mr. Moore has conducted the National Opera Ebony in performances of William Grant Still’s Troubled Island and Mark Fax’s Til Victory is Won. He also led the group in concerts at Lincoln Center and at the Aaron Davis Center of City College of New York.

In 1985, Kermit Moore was a guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony. The program included Sibelius’ Finlandia, Howard Swanson’s Symphony No. 1 and Mr. Moore’s own Many Thousand Gone.

Mr. Moore is a frequent guest conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He leads the orchestra at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union and at Lincoln Center. At the latter, he led the orchestra in the New York premiere of Transcension by Dorothy Rudd Moore, a prominent New York composer (the opera, Frederick Douglass; From the Dark Tower; Dirge and Deliverance), who is also Mr. Moore’s wife. He conducted the group in the world premiere of his own Estival Escapade along with works by Bach and Haydn. On another occasion, Mr. Moore led the ensemble at Lincoln Center in Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, which Mr. Moore had previously orchestrated on a commission by the Cleveland Orchestra.

Each season since 1984, Kermit Moore has been a guest conductor of the Berkeley (California) Symphony in several halls in San Francisco. His programs have included A Lincoln Portrait of Aaron Copland, Schönberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony, Britten’s Sea Interludes, the First Cello Concerto of Shostakovich, Penderecki’s Te Deum, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, the Lyric Suite of Grieg, and other works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bizet, Ravel, Wagner and Verdi, with many distinguished soloists.

Kermit Moore has also led the Dance Theatre of Harlem on Broadway the Birmingham (Alabama) Symphony and his own prestigious group, the Classical Heritage Ensemble.