Joyce Solomon Moorman

Dr. Moorman’s compositional style has evolved from “12-tone composition to more of a mixture of techniques and idioms including jazz rhythms, 12 tone melodies, and quartile harmonies.”, as stated by Dr. Joyce Solomon Moorman. She has set many poems by Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Henry Dumas along with South Africa poet Rashidah Ismaili, who also wrote the libretto for Joyce Solomon Moorman's Opera, Elegies for the Fallen.

Photo: Joyce Solomon Moorman,

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Born in Tuskeegee, Alabama, and later raised in Colombia, South Carolina, Dr. Joyce Solomon Moorman received her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College, her Master of Arts in Teaching from Rutgers College, her Masters of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, and her Education Doctorate from Colombia University. Her works have been performed by many companies and artists, some notable ones consist of the Afro-American Chamber Music Society of Los Angeles, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, Lillian Parrot, and Louise Toppin. She has won many awards during her career, such as the June Jordan Award for excellence in the field of arts and performance and the perpetuation of African American culture. Dr. Moorman served on the Advisory Music Panel for the New York State Council on the Arts for three years as well as being on staff as a Professor in the Music and Art Department at the Borough of Manhattan Community College from which she is now retired.

Some of her compositions are in direct connection to her experience of growing up in the segregated South, such as her tone poem for victims of racism and hatred, which was recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra in 1998. She is also greatly inspired by nature and has many pieces that take their title from different natural occurrences. She is greatly influenced by poetry and often picks up a book of poems when she is in a rut or is looking for inspiration. She has also set the poetry of Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Henry Dumas. She has written one opera which details the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. She uses African idioms within the opera and the libretto was written by African poet Rashidah Ismaili.


Source: Joyce Solomon Moorman’s personal website


-Caitlyn Fuller

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