Undine Smith Moore biography

Undine Smith Moore


1904 – 1989


Who was Undine Smith Moore?

Undine Smith Moore was a notable and prolific female African-American composer of the 20th century.

She began studying piano at age seven, and at the age of 20 became the first graduate of Fisk University to receive a scholarship to Juilliard. Graduating cum laude in 1926, she because supervisor of music for the Goldsboro, North Carolina public school system.

She began teaching piano, organ and music theory at Virginia State College in 1927, remaining a member of the faculty until she retired in 1972. She commuted to New York's Columbia University between 1929 and 1931 and received her Master of Arts in Teaching.

In 1938 she married Dr. James Arthur Moore and on 4 January 1941 they had a daughter, Mary Hardie.

Moore was a visiting professor at Carleton College and the College of Saint Benedict, and an adjunct professor at Virginia Union University during the 1970s. Amongst her many awards were the National Association of Negro Musicians Distinguished Achievement Award in 1975 and the Virginia Governor’s Award in the Arts in 1985.

She was awarded honorary Doctor of Music degrees by Virginia State College and Indiana University and in 1977 was named music laureate of Virginia.


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Aug 25, 1904
  • African American
  • United States of America
  • Fisk University
  • Columbia University
  • Juilliard School
Feb 6, 1989

on July 23, 2013

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