Eric Moe

  • Andrew W. Mellon Professor
  • Codirector of Music on the Edge
  • DEI Committee


Composer of "music of winning exuberance" (The New York Times). Pianist.


I grew up in southern Illinois, then promptly went to both coasts for higher education, first to Princeton University, where I got a BA in 1976, and then to the University of California at Berkeley, where I got an MA followed by a PhD in 1982. After teaching at U.C. Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University, I joined the faculty at Pitt in 1989.

I am a composer and a pianist. My compositions, both acoustic and electroacoustic, explore dramatic conflicts of style and culture (high and low, Western and non-Western, low-tech and high-tech, etc.) and play with listener expectations, building strange narratives on topics such as fame, art, eroticism, the Romantic sublime, and social and economic issues. Some of my pieces have an element of theater, pushing the traditional boundaries of the concert hall through video, text, and staging. Both as a composer and performer, I am fascinated by virtuosity, and showcase different flavors of it in solo compositions, concerti, and in concert.

Recent Courses

  • Comp and Analysis Tutorial
  • Composition Seminar: Music and the Environment
  • Composition Seminar: Music and Bodies
  • Composition Seminar: Music and Text
  • Electroacoustic Music
  • Introduction to Analysis
  • Music Theory

Selected Honors and Awards

Lakond Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Guggenheim Fellowship.

Lucas Artist Fellowship Award, Montalvo Arts Center.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship.

Aaron Copland Award

Barlow Endowment commission

Residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Camargo Foundation, Ucross Foundation, Bellagio, Millay Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, among others.

Selected Commissions

Fromm Foundation (2)

Koussevitzky Foundation (2)

Barlow Endowment commission (2)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Brentano String Quartet

Meet-the Composer Commissioning/USA

Selected Recordings

Eric Moe: Uncanny Affable Machines (New Focus, 2018)

Of Color Braided All Desire (Albany, 2015)

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch (New World Records, 2013)

Eric Moe: Kick & Ride (BMOP Sound, 2011)

Strange Exclaiming Music (Naxos, 2009)

TRI-STAN (Koch International Classics, 2007)

Siren Songs (Albany Records, 2007)

Sonnets to Orpheus and Siren Songs (Koch International Classics CD, 2001).

Kicking and Screaming (Albany Records, 2003).

Up & At 'Em (Albany Records, 2002).

On the Tip of My Tongue: Chamber and Electroacoustic Music of Eric Moe (Centaur 1997).

See complete discography.

Selected Recordings as a piano soloist

New American Waltzes, waltzes for piano by two generations of American composers (Albany Records, 2004).

Ezra Sims: Musing and Reminiscences. (New World Records, 2010) Sonatina for solo piano and Sonata for Cello and Piano, with Ted Mook.

Other recordings on Koch, Innova, CRI, Mode, and AK/Coburg labels, performing the music of John Cage, Roger Zahab, Marc-Antonio Consoli, Mathew Rosenblum, David Keberle, Jay Reise, and Felix Draeseke.

Selected Recent Compositions

The Sweetness of Despair, the Necessity of Hope (2021) concerto for piano and orchestra,  25'
commissioned for Boston Modern Orchestra Project, 2023 premiere 

The Artwork of the Future (2016/2022) opera for four singers and seven instrumentalists,  80’
libretto by Rob Handel, premiere by Fresh Squeezed Opera, director Dara Milina, HERE Arts Center NYC, May 2023

Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years? (2022) for flute, clarinet, vln, cello, percussion, and piano, 20’
commissioned by Barlow Endowment for Collage New Music 50th anniversary
Collage New Music, Killian Hall, Boston  April 16, 2023

They Sang But Had Nor Human Tunes Nor Words (2019) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion, and,  9'
digital piano with microtonal tuning with optional video
Brightwork newmusic, New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh PA  February 28, 2020

Deep Ecology (2020) for cello and fixed electroacoustic media,  11’
David Russell, Jordan Hall, Boston 2/28/2022
Alternating Currents
(2020) piano solo,  8’
Solungga Liu, faculty recital Bowling Green State University, 3/23/2022                                                                                 
Scree Slope
(2019) for piano solo,  5’
Eric Moe, Bargemusic, NYC 1/4/2020

We Crossed the River (2020/2022) soprano, mezzo, and chamber ensemble (fl/picc, cln/, vln, vlc, pno, perc)  28’
text by Angie Cruz on testimonios of detained children
New York New Music Ensemble 2023
preview (reduced instrumentation) at City of Asylum, Pittsburgh 05/12/2021

The Color Of There Seen From Here (2018) for flute, violin, viola, cello, and piano with video.
Commissioned by Electric Earth Concerts.

Native Trees (2018) soprano and chamber ensemble, poem by W.S. Merwin, commissioned by Electric Earth Concerts & Portland Chamber Music Festival

Tough Songs About Death (2017) soprano and chamber ensemble, poems by Dorianne Laux, commissioned by Earplay

Remember/Imagine (2017) baritone, mezzo soprano, violin, tenor saxophone, contrabass, drumset, text by Frank Sherlock, commissioned by the Wm. Penn Foundation for the Network for New Music

Turn On Your Funk Motor (2017) for violin, tenor saxophone, contrabass, and drumset. Commissioned by the William Penn Foundation for the Network for New Music                                                                                                                           

And No Birds Sing (2017) for solo digital keyboard with microtonal tuning, written for the Beyond: Microtonal Music Festival

Now This –  (2017) for piano solo, commissioned by Solungga Liu                                                                                                     

Verklärtes Holz (Transfigured Wood) (2015) for cello solo, commissioned by Rhonda Rider

Uncanny Affable Machines (2014) for viola and fixed electroacoustic media, commissioned by Jessica Meyer

Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust (2014) for solo piano, commissioned by Nicholas Horvath

Obey Your Thirst (2014) for violin solo and electrocoustic sound, commissioned by Mari Kimura

The Weasel of Melancholy (2013) for solo digital keyboard with microtonal tuning, commissioned by Aron Kallay

The Artwork of the Future (2016) opera, four singers and chamber ensemble libretto by Rob Handel

What Happens Next Will Shock You (2015) for viola and piano. Commissioned by Michael Hall

What Instruments We Have Agree (2015) for violin, viola, bass clarinet, and piano. Commissioned by counter)induction.

A Panoramic Guide to Glacier Travel (2014) for pipa, erhu, cello, zheng, and percussion. Commissioned by New Music USA for Music From China.

Welcome to Phase Space (2014) for vln, vlc, and piano. Commissioned by Electric Earth Concerts for the Horszowski Trio

Demon Theory (2013) for alto saxophone and piano. Commissioned by Elliot Riley.

The Salt of Broken Tears (2012) for string quartet. Commissioned by the Manhattan String Quartet.

Valkyrie Suite (2012) short opera for eleven female voices and chamber ensemble (fl, cln, vln, vla, perc, pno)   12’
libretto by Rob Handel, commissioned by Pittsburgh Opera Theater

Danger: Giant Frogs (2011) for four percussionists. Commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for Talujon.

Of Color Braided All Desire (2011) for soprano and string quartet. Poems by May Swenson, commissioned by South Mountain Music.

Frozen Hours Melt Melodiously Into The Past (2009) (The Deeds and Sufferings of Light I). Commissioned by the Jebediah Foundation for the Firebird Ensemble

Kick & Ride (2008) concerto for drum set. Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch (2011) (The Deeds and Sufferings of Light II), commissioned by the Jebediah Foundation for the Firebird Ensemble

Lavished Sunlight, Frozen Hours (2009) soprano, cello, and piano. Two poems by Richard Wilbur, commissioned by Monadnock Music.

Dead Cat Bounce (2009). Commissioned by counter)induction.

Let Me Tell U About R Specials (2005) for flute and electroacoustic sound. Commissioned by Patti Monson.

Strange Exclaiming Music (2004) for violin and piano. Commissioned by Curtis Macomber.

The Sun Beats the Mountain Like a Drum (2004) for pipa and electroacoustic sound. Commissioned by the Fromm Foundation for Wu Man

Legend of the Sad Triad (2004) piano solo

TRI-STAN (2003) sit-trag for mezzo-soprano and ten players. Commissioned by Mary Nessinger, text by David Foster Wallace; video by Suzie Silver.

Complete list of compositions and first performances


Codirector, Music on the Edge new music concert series, University of Pittsburgh.

Director, University of Pittsburgh Electroacoustic Music Studio.

Founding member, EARPLAY, San Francisco.

Advisory Board, counter)induction ensemble

Advisory Board member and Princeton University Music Department

Board of Directors, The League of Composers/ISCM (New York)

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of California at Berkeley, 1982

Faculty Groupings

Core Faculty

Main Department Affliliation

Andrew W. Mellon Professor

Other Department Positions

Codirector of Music on the Edge