Dorothy Rudd Moore


Dorothy Rudd Moore (1940-2022), received commissions from the National Symphony, Opera Ebony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic, among many solo artists. Considered one of her generation's leading composers of color, her music has been performed and recorded world-wide, and includes chamber pieces, song cycles, orchestral music, and an opera, and is admired for its high level of artistry and its seriousness of purpose.  Other awards she has received include an American Music Center Grant, 1972; New York State Council on the Arts Grant, 1985; and several Meet the Composer grants. Two of her works, Dirge and Deliverance, and Songs From the Dark Tower were released by Performance Records in 1981 and reissued in 2021. In 1985, the world premiere of her opera, Frederick Douglass, took place in New York City.

Moore's parents fully supported her ambitions to be a composer. She studied piano at the Wilmington School of Music and became a student of Harry Andrews. Moore learned to play clarinet so that she could join the all-male band at Howard High. She graduated from Howard University in 1963 where she studied with Dean Warner Lawson, Thomas Kerr, and Mark Fax. She received the Lucy Moten Fellowship to study in France where she continued her studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in 1963 and then with Chou Wen-Chung in New York in 1965. In 1968 she became a co-founder of the Society of Black Composers in New York City. As an educator, she has taught voice, piano, and ear training courses at Harlem School of the Arts, 1965-66; New York University, 1969; and Bronx Community College, 1971. She passed away on March 30, 2022. 

For more info:

Interview 1990 with Bruce Duffie

Interviews and Music on Youtube

Also see From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American Women Composers and Their Music  
by Helen Walker-Hill  (Author)


PHOTO BY BERT ANDREWS, from ACA Archives, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland.

***Notice: Any recordings of songs or vocal music by Dorothy Rudd Moore need to be licensed and clearances obtained from all legal rightsholders, including ACA, text authors and their estates. Purchase of a score does not transfer recording rights.

ACE Publications

33 title(s)
Dorothy Rudd Moore MOODS Viola and Cello
Dorothy Rudd Moore WEARY BLUES Baritone Cello Piano Baritone, cello, piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore ONE AT A TIME, TWO AT A TIME - voice and piano Mezzo-Soprano and piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore FOURTH OF JULY SPEECH from the opera Frederick Douglass Baritone, piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore Papa Doc
Dorothy Rudd Moore VOICES FROM THE LIGHT SSAA women's chorus, oboe, string quartet & piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore FLOWERS OF DARKNESS Tenor and Piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore TRANSCENSION - I Have Been to the Mountaintop Mixed Octet
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass
Dorothy Rudd Moore LULLABY from the opera Frederick Douglass - song version
sop, pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore FREDERICK DOUGLASS, An Opera in 3 Acts 2-1-Ehn-2-bcl-1,2-2-1-btbn-0,perc,timp,pf,strings, Vocal Soloists
Dorothy Rudd Moore ONE AT A TIME, TWO AT A TIME - from the opera, Frederick Douglass fl1,fl2,tp1,tp2,ob,ehorn,cl1,cl2,bcl,bsn,timp,perc,pf,vn1,vn2,va,vc,db; Soprano or Mezzo solo
Soprano or Mezzo, Orchestra
Dorothy Rudd Moore FREDERICK DOUGLASS Opera, Act 2 Sc. 3, Act 3 Sc. 3 SATB, piano, soloists
Dorothy Rudd Moore WEARY BLUES, for Bar. and orchestra Bar,orch:2-2-ehn-2-bcl- 2,2hn,timp,pf,str
Dorothy Rudd Moore LITTLE WHIMSY Piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore NIGHT FANTASY cl, pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore IN CELEBRATION, chamber orch mixed chorus, soprano and baritone soloists, chamber ensemble
SATB, sb soli, fl, cl, timp, perc (triangle, tambourine, gong), pf, strings
Dorothy Rudd Moore IN CELEBRATION, piano/vocal score SATB, SB soli, pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore SONNETS ON LOVE ROSEBUDS AND DEATH high voice, violin, piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore LULLABY from the opera Jocelyn of Benjamin Godard
Dorothy Rudd Moore DREAM and VARIATIONS Piano
2 sop,pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE 2 sop, pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore ON WINGS OF SONG, for 2 sopranos, piano
2 sop, pf
Dorothy Rudd Moore FROM THE DARK TOWER - chamber version 8 songs Mezzo-Soprano, cello, piano
Dorothy Rudd Moore FROM THE DARK TOWER, orchestra version, 4 songs mez-sop, orch:2-2-ehn-2-bcl-2, 4-3-2-btbn-1,cel,timp,str

Additional Works