Eric Moe

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


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

  • Composition and Analysis Tutorial
  • Music Theory
  • Introduction to Analysis
  • Composition Seminar
  • Electronic Music

Selected Honors and Awards

Lakond Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Guggenheim Fellowship.

Wellesley Composer's Conference Fellowship.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship.

Aaron Copland Award

Barlow Endowment commission

Residencies at the Camargo Foundation, Ucross Foundation, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, among others.

Selected Commissions

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Fromm Foundation (2)

Koussevitzky Foundation

Meet-the Composer Commissioning/USA

Selected Recordings

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).

For a complete discography, see

Selected Recordings as a piano soloist

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

Other recordings on Koch, CRI (New World), Mode, and AK/Coburg labels, performing the music of John Cage, Roger Zahab, Marc-Antonio Consoli, Mathew Rosenblum, and Felix Draeseke.

Selected Recent Compositions

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

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.

Board of Trustees member, Robert Miller Fund and Composers Conference.

Advisory Board member, Princeton University Music Department.

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