Undine Smith Moore

Undine Smith Moore, composer, educator and lecturer, was the recipient of many honors, including citations from Fisk University, Atlanta University, Virginia State College, the National Association of Negro Musicians and the City of New York. She was named Music Laureate by the Virginia Cultural Laureate Center in 1977 and received honorary doctoral degrees from Virginia State College (1972) and Indiana University (1976).

A granddaughter of slaves, Moore was born in Jarratt, Virginia in 1904. She attended high school in Petersburg, Virginia and went on to the preparatory academy of Fisk University in Nashville. A graduate of Fisk University in 1926, Dr. Moore received the first Fisk scholarship to study (piano) at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and earned her master’s degree from Columbia University in 1931. From 1927 to 1972 Dr. Moore taught piano, organ and music theory at Virginia State College (now Virginia State University), where she was co-founder of the Black Music Center. She also served as Senior Advisor to the Afro-American Arts Institute at Indiana University.

In a 1972 tribute to her accomplishments, Dr. Moore’s music was presented in concert at Town Hall. Among pieces performed on this program were such choral works as Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord and settings of Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son and When Susanna Jones Wore Red. Her other compositions include Afro-American Suite for Flute, Violoncello and Piano which represented Virginia at the Kennedy Center during the nation’s Bicentennial, Love, Let the Wind Cry How I Adore Thee, sung at the New York Philharmonic’s Celebration of Music of Black Composers, plus many more works, both sacred and secular. Dr. Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, a 16-part oratorio on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, for chorus, orchestra, solo voices and narrator was premiered at Carnegie Hall and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Dr. Moore once said “Art preserves life in a very special way. Our memories die with us, but art preserves the values and experiences.”

Undine Smith Moore — Afro-American Suite

Dr. Moore was one of the most prominent African-American women composers of the 20th Century. Published here for the first time, her Afro-American Suite (1969) has four movements based on traditional Negro spirituals, but adapted harmonically using the modern composer’s tools. A very accessible chamber music piece for instrumental “voices,” well suited for recitals or church. (The slow movement is written for alto flute).

Suited for:


For Flute, Cello and Piano, 12-13 minutes.
MC-0150 . . . $30.00

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