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Eric Moe is a popular composer whose style is difficult to pin down in its mixture of minimalism, tonal and non-tonal aspects, electro-acoustic techniques, pop music elements, and various other characteristics. In general his works are accessible to the listener, and while they often divulge echoes of Stravinsky, Liszt, Bartók, and American composers like Barber, they also possess an individuality quite their own. Many of his compositions almost defy classification: his piano concerto Kicking and Screaming (1994), is neither tonal nor atonal, but quite approachable in its churning lyricism; his so-called 'sit-trag' TRI-STAN, for mezzo-soprano and 10 instrumentalists, straddles and even unites the classical and pop music worlds; and his Mouth Music (1995) is quite imaginative in its odd vocal utterances and deft electronic manipulations. If Moe the composer is stylistically all over the place, Moe the pianist is a more certain commodity: he is accomplished both as a concert and recording artist, performing many of his own works as well as a disparate range by Cage, Draeseke, Babbitt, Lou Harrison, Robert Helps, Charles Wuorinen, and many others. Moe's works have appeared on CRI, Centaur, Koch International, and Albany Records.
Eric Moe was born in Carbondale, IL, in 1954. He studied music at Princeton, obtaining a bachelor's degree (1976) and then a master's (1978) and doctorate (1982) at the University of California at Berkeley, where his chief teachers included Andrew Imbrie. From 1981-1989, Moe taught music at San Francisco State University. His first serious works began to appear in 1984, the Fantasy, for piano, and Songs Not So Serious, for soprano and piano. In 1985 Moe helped found the San Francisco-based music ensemble Earplay. Moe joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, where he has since served as professor of composition and theory.
Among Moe's first recordings was the 1996 Centaur release On the Tip of My Tongue, a collection of seven Moe compositions titled after the lead-off piece for clarinet and piano. On the recording Moe performs both on piano and synthesizer. Other recordings followed and Moe appeared regularly as a pianist and conductor, often with Earplay and the San Francisco-based Pro Musica Nova. In the new century Moe has achieved international notice from the 2005 first performances of the aforementioned TRI-STAN. Among Moe's other recordings is the 2007 release on Albany Records of Siren Songs, a 1998 vocal collection for soprano and chamber orchestra.
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