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Moorman, (Madeline) Charlotte

Moorman, (Madeline) Charlotte, avantgarde American cellist; b. Little Rock, Ark., Nov. 18, 1933; d. N.Y., Nov. 8, 1991. She took a B.A. degree in music at Centenary Coll. in Shreveport, La., before studying cello with Horace Britt at the Univ. of Tex. in Austin (1956–57); then completed her training at N.Y.’s Juilliard School of Music. She was a cellist in the Boccherini Players (1958–63) and in the American Sym. Orch. in N.Y. A fascination with the avant-garde led her to found the N.Y. Avant-Garde Art Festival in 1963, with which she remained active until 1982. She first attracted attention in 1965 when she performed the Cello Sonata No. 2 for Adults Only. In 1967 she became something of a sensation when she performed Nam June Paik’s Opéra Sextronique in accordance with the composer’s instructions, i.e. nude from the waist up. Her performance was halted by her arrest; although she was tried and convicted for unseemly exposure, her sentence was eventually suspended and she resumed her championship of the avant-garde unhindered. Among her other notable performances were TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969), which called for a bra made of 2 small televisions, and Paik’s The TV Cello (1971), in which she played a cello made out of 3 television sets. Varèse was so taken with Moorman that he dubbed her the “Jeanne d’Arc of New Music.”

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire

Moorman, (Madeline) Charlotte

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