Lawrence Moe
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Lawrence Henry Moe

96, U.C. Berkeley Professor of Music and University Organist Emeritus, passed away in Oakland on September 14, 2013. He was born on May 9, 1917, in Chicago. At just age 15, he became organist and choirmaster of his local church. He earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Northwestern and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Harvard. He taught at Central Washington College in Ellensburg WA, and Wellesley College, and was organist and choirmaster at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Boston, 1954-1957. He came to U.C. Berkeley in 1957 where he was a Professor of Musicology and University Organist until his retirement in 1987. The University had just created the position that required both a doctorate and organ background, after the 1957 completion of Hertz Hall with its Holtkamp organ. He was chairman of the department for 10 years, where he helped to shape one of the country's leading music departments. He received many awards during his lifetime, including Fulbright awards to study in Europe, the Berkeley Citation for "Distinguished Achievement and Notable Service to the University", and a Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1997 the organ gallery of Hertz Hall was named in his honor.

During his tenure he championed organ music and built a distinguished and unique collection of organs for the University, which includes antique European organs and many new organs built in older styles that allow students to play on organs as they existed centuries ago. The collection allows both players and audiences to continue learning about music from the past. His career included teaching, recitals, recordings, scholarship and administration. His fondness for Baroque music, from Bach and Frescobaldi to Buxtehude, was evident during his numerous concerts at Hertz Hall and across the State and nation, and in his many recordings done in both the US and Europe.

He had been Dean of the SF Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and had served as organist for the SF and Boston Symphonies. He was known for his wide knowledge of past organ building traditions and organ builders in both the US and Europe, and his allegiance to the highest ideals of his profession. He served as consultant in the installation of important organs throughout the Bay Area and on the UC campus, and greatly influenced organ building on the West Coast. During his long career he had the opportunity to meet and often work with prominent musicians, composers, fellow scholars, organists, organ builders, and preforming artists of his day, from Thelonious Monk to E. Power Biggs and Igor Stravinsky.

"Larry" will be remembered as a great story teller, talented musician, good administrator, and a sensible and generous person, who lived a long, rich and productive life, and who was loved by all. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Georgiana, son Eric, daughter Charis Burke (Alex) and two grandchildren, Dillon Moreno and Brigitte Moreno. His talent and legacy will also survive through the organ collection, recordings and the generations of students he mentored. No services per his request.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 19 to Sep. 22, 2013.
Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
September 13, 2020
I was just thinking about Larry Moe this morning, as I often do, not realizing that today is an anniversary. He was a calm, wise and friendly presence in my life, a trusted counselor and guide. I miss him!
Kathleen Adams
September 13, 2019
Dr. Moe was an exceptional man and a good friend to all who were fortunate enough to know him. He was super smart (of course) and a brilliant musician (of course!) but he was above all a kind and considerate person, always ready to help or give good advice. I miss him still, and I remember him not just with admiration but also with great affection. Kathleen McIntosh
December 28, 2013
There is no question but that this man was a major force in furthering my career. He took me on as his teaching assistant in my first year as a Berkeley grad student; he recommended me for excellent positions that came open for a church organist; he supported my grant applications; and he played a role in alerting me to a teaching position at San Francisco State when I left Berkeley. I owe him a huge gratitude both for his support and for his friendship.

He was a generous, warm-hearted man who richly deserved the long life he had.
Arthur Hills
October 27, 2013
Larry was a very gifted member of the San Francisco Chapter of American Guild of Organists. I particularly remember his organ recitals at Hertz Hall.

It was not generally known in the organ world that his PhD dissertation at Harvard University dealt with dance rhythms in Renaissance Music and several editions of the Harvard Dictionary of Music included his articles on this topic.

I still have letters he sent me about an organ at Northwestern University that we both experienced. I was a music student there long after he was.

In summary, we have lost a exceptionally gifted scholar and performer.

Condolences to his family.
Richard Ditewig
September 28, 2013
Larry was in his first college professorship in WA state when we became lifelong friends, all because my deceased husband, Joe, as a freshman enjoyed organ music and sought Larry's practice times to listen. WWII intervened, the two corresponded until
Joe's return to campus.
The many, many years of friendship has remained.......traveling. Vacationing, raising our four children.
Larry's long productive life, the many deserved awards in every endeavor and the solidarity between he and Georgie and our friendship has been the blessing in love never to be forgotten.
Dorothy Clayton
September 25, 2013
In longtime warmth, admiration and gratitude, Jon and Mickey Elkus
September 23, 2013
Larry was extremely kind to me when I approached him as a naive, and organ-loving, undergrad (majoring in physics, of all things!). He gave me the opportunity to play the great Holtkamp in Hertz Hall as well as the fabulous organ at St. Joseph of Arimathea on Durant, and gave me a summer job helping prepare pipes for the Harrold Organ. When I went on a trip to Europe, he gave me contacts that allowed me to play some of the most magnificent instruments in France and Germany. The organ world has lost a guiding light.
Michael Strauss
September 23, 2013
My condolences to the Moe family. All those many years ago I would wait in the audience of Hertz Hall with my mom and dad for Larry to pop out of that door at stage right and float over to the console of that big organ floating above the stage. Then the most amazing and beautiful sounds would fill the hall and we would all be transported to somewhere mystical and beautiful and transcendent. May his memory live on in that space as it certainly will in my thoughts.
Nick Peterson
September 23, 2013
Linda Roman
September 22, 2013
Enjoyed hearing about his life from his son. So sorry for you loss.
Linda Roman
September 22, 2013
An extraordinary person and an exemplary human being. Larry is the grand dad of my two children, Dillon and Brigitte. He was both, family and friend and I remember always looking forwards to meeting with him.
pepe moreno
September 22, 2013
sending love to his family
Diane Moe
September 22, 2013
Prof Moe was so popular and loved by my generation (and surely beyond) of Cal students. Students thoroughly enjoyed his classes and his concerts. It is safe to say he touched and influenced many thousands of lives over the decades.
Prudence Ashley
September 21, 2013
Larry Moe was both my friend and my organ teacher many years ago. He was extremely kind and was very influential on my career. We are all grateful for his long and productive life.
Arthur Lawrence
September 20, 2013
Dr. Moe was an inspiration and a wonderful friend. I will treasure the many fond memories I have of him, and continue to sing his praises as the one responsible for insisting on quality in instrument and music making and leaving a legacy of great instruments all throughout the Western US.
Kathleen McIntosh
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