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date: 07 May 2021

Moore, Undine Smith locked

  • Olivia Mattis


(b Jarratt, VA, Aug 25, 1904; d Petersburg, VA, Feb 6, 1989). American composer. She studied at Fisk University (AB and diploma 1926), Columbia University Teachers College (AM and diploma 1931) and privately with Howard Murphy. A professor at Virginia State University, Petersburg (1927–89), she co-founded and co-directed the university's Black Music Center (1969–72). Her many honours included the Governor's Award in the Arts (Virginia, 1985) and honorary doctorates from Virginia State (1972) and Indiana (1976) universities.

Moore's compositional style is strongly rooted in the tonal tradition and in her spiritual heritage. Many of her choral works set explicitly Christian, often Biblical texts and employ a style derived from southern hymnody. Who Shall Separate Us From the Love of Christ?, Lord,We Give Thanks to Thee and the seven Choral Prayers in Folk Style, intended for liturgical use, reflect her deep religious faith. While spirituals were among her earliest musical memories, her compositional interest in them only took hold once her formal musical education was complete. She notated melodies her mother and father had learned from their parents and referred to them throughout her mature output, most explicitly in her many choral arrangements, but in other works as well, such as the ...

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