John Moran

John Moran

John Moran is an American composer. He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1965.

John Moran has generally been considered the protege of composer Philip Glass. As the story goes, a 23 year old Moran - having no formal education of any sort - showed up at Glass' doorstep in New York City in 1987, with his first opera, "Jack Benny" in hand: a multi-media work which Moran had composed from various snippets of the entitled television series, refashioned into an 'opera' (although the entire piece was directed to be lip-synch'd by actors). Numerous articles in sources like The New York Times, many with interviews of Glass, describe Moran as actually living behind the older composer's couch for many years. The success of Moran's first piece swept the artistic community, receiving strong acclaim from publications like The New York Times, after being presented at New York's La Mama ETC.

The following year, at the age of 24, Moran was commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to create his second opera, "The Manson Family", which starred punk legend Iggy Pop. A recording of the opera was produced by Glass and released on Point Music / Phillips Classics. Although the recording was almost immediately recalled by its parent label, for obscene language and content, it achieved the instant status of 'cult classic', and is still widely distributed by fans around the world.

Moran wrote many music-theater works in his career and received praise as being one of his generation's most brilliant composers. In 2003, Philip Glass was quoted as saying, "I am convinced that there is no more important composer working today, than John Moran. His works have been so advanced as to be considered revolutionary." Those works included, "Jack Benny", "The Manson Family", "Everyday Newt Burman (The Trilogy of Cyclic Existence)", "Mathew in the School of Life", "Book of the Dead (2nd Avenue)". Among the performers who have starred in Moran's work are, Uma Thurman (Book of the Dead), Iggy Pop (T"he Manson Family"), Allen Ginsberg ("Mathew in the School of Life", and "Meet the Locusts" - an unreleased album for Phillips Classics), and Julia Stiles (who played in many of Moran's works at a young age).

During later years - often known for being an eccentric - Moran seemed to turn his back on working in larger venues, and instead favored working in duo with brilliant, female performers: Eva Müller (a dancer from Germany) and Saori Tsukada (a classically trained gymnast from Japan) at smaller performance venues: "John Moran w/ Eva Müller" and "John Moran and his neighbor, Saori". He also spent 2 years as the artist in residence for the City of Paris, from 2004-2006.

[UPDATE] Moran has actually premiered two new musictheatre works, ZENITH 5! (2006) and SAORI'S BIRTHDAY (2007), both for an ensemble which featured Saori Tukada, and premiering in New York City. There were two interesting profiles of the composer in The New York Times in 2006. Here is one of them, written by critic Gia Kourlas:

List of known works

* JACK BENNY! (1989) Music-Theater in 3 Acts
* THE MANSON FAMILY (1990) Music-Theater in 3 Acts / Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
* MEET THE LOCUSTS (1993) An Album of Songs
* THE HOSPITAL (1994) Music-Theater Commissioned By "Meryl Vladimer" for the CLUB La MaMa
* THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1995) Music-Theater Commissioned By "Meryl Vladimer" for the CLUB La MaMa
* MATHEW IN THE SCHOOL OF LIFE (1996) Music-Theater in 4 Acts
* THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1997) Music-Theater in 2 Acts / Commissioned by A.R.T. at Harvard University
* BOOK OF THE DEAD (2nd AVENUE) (2000) Music-Theater in 3 Acts / Commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
* JOHN MORAN w. EVA MÜLLER (2002) - Variety of Performances
* BONNE NUIT (2005) - Commissioned by Agitakt Theater / Paris, France
* A LAKE OF TEARS (FOR CABELL) - Orchestra and Computer / Commissioned by Musique Nouvelle en Liberte, Paris
* JOHN MORAN AND HIS NEIGHBOR, SAORI (2003) - Variety of Performances
* ZENITH 5! (2006)
* SAORI'S BIRTHDAY (2007) - Commissioned by Performance Space 122, New York City

Although the majority of these works seem to be unavailable, it is surprising in light of the overwhelming praises each of these works received by critics and publications in their times. Among many notable quotes, in 1997 The Boston Globe described Moran as "a modern day Mozart", and The New York Times had on many occasions through the late 1980s and 1990's, had called him the most important composer of his time. Even as a choreographer, The NY Times referred to Moran as being equals with figures like Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp.

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