Alicia Hall Moran
Mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran conjures a sonic world wherein classical and African American cultures join. Praised by The New York Times for her “imaginative recontextualization of classical singing,” Moran is a trained vocalist “who never tries to sound like anything else, despite the diverse artistic company she keeps.”
Her productions include Black Wall Street (2016), inspired by the Wall Street career of her father, a native Oklahoman, and the Tulsa race riot of 1921 (River to River Festival, Opera Southwest, SITE Santa Fe, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / NYPL, and National Sawdust); and Breaking Ice (National Sawdust, MASS MoCA, and PROTOTYPE/Out of Bounds).
Moran made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, before starring as Bess in the celebrated 20-city American tour. The Los Angeles Times praised her performance, writing that she found “the truth of the character in her magnificent voice.” Her second album, Here Today, was released to high praise in 2017, as was her first album, Heavy Blue. She recently recorded Gabriel Kahane’s oratorio emergency shelter intake form with Oregon Symphony and for pianist Lara Downes’ Holes In The Sky. She tours Bryce Dessner’s Triptych, touring worldwide.
Moran has been commissioned by MoMA, The Kitchen, Art Public / Art Basel Miami, Histories Remixed / Art Institute Chicago, Poetry Society of America, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Collaborators include Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company, guitarist Bill Frisell, the band Harriet Tubman, guitarist Thomas Flippin, taiko artist Kaoru Watanabe, poets Carl Hancock Rux Jessica Care Moore, and visual artists Carrie Mae Weems, Ragnar Kjartansson, Suzanne Bocanegra, Simone Leigh, Liz Magic Laser, Adam Pendleton, and Whitfield Lovell. Moran and her husband, Jason Moran — both Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellows — have jointly created works for the Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Walker Art Center, and Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Moran earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Barnard College (with a minor in Anthropology), and a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
Jazz pianist, composer, and artist Jason Moran was born in Houston in 1975 and earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. Upon graduation, he studied with Andrew Hill and Muhal Richard Abrams. He began an 18-year relationship with Blue Note Records, producing nine highly acclaimed recordings. His groundbreaking trio, The Bandwagon (with Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits) is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Moran’s performances with Cassandra Wilson, Charles Lloyd, and the late Sam Rivers reveal the scope of his musical partnerships. His work with visual artists is extensive, including projects with Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Adam Pendleton, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker. He has been awarded fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Ford Foundation.
Moran frequently collaborates with his wife, Alicia Hall Moran, including their residency at the 2012 Whitney Biennial, where they together curated BLEED, a five-day series of live performances. They also premiered Work Songs at the 2015 Venice Biennial. They currently produce recordings on their own label, Yes Records. Since his first album, Moran has produced 14 additional albums, and composed scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s stage version of Between the World and Me.
History is an ongoing theme for Moran, who has created monumental pieces about Thelonious Monk (In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959), Fats Waller (Fats Waller Dance Party), and James Reese Europe (James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin).
In 2018, Moran had his first solo museum exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art in September. Moran is currently the artistic director of Jazz at the Kennedy Center, programs concerts for Park Avenue Armory, and teaches at New England Conservatory.