Dr. Dan Moore is professor of music at the University of Iowa, where in 2018 he received the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. He is head of Iowa Percussion, which encompasses contemporary chamber music, concert percussion, electronic music, steel band, improvisation, and cultural genres in a student-centric program of study from undergraduate to doctoral level. As a vibes, marimba, and percussion artist, he has appeared on more than 30 professional recordings—15 as a leader or co-leader. In 1986, Dan and Nashville steel pan artist Mat Britain formed the BMD, the first touring steel pan/marimba duo, and they continue to perform and record their unique repertoire. Along the way, they have influenced several generations of percussionists.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Dan Moore: I only ever wanted to be a music teacher. Being a high school band director was my goal from the time I was in junior high school, but I fell into college teaching almost by accident, spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do it right, and still enjoy a rewarding career in higher ed. If not a musician, I probably would’ve worked in my uncle’s burglar alarm/security business.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
DM: There are simply too many things to choose from: the Iowa Writers Workshop, Jackson Pollock, and Grant Wood, but I am most proud to tell people that my wife, Liesa Moore, is a two-term elected City Councilor in our town.
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
DM: When I was young, I wanted to be a puppeteer and work for Jim Henson on The Muppet Showor to be an architect.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
DM: It would have to be the marimba, I guess. I’ve always been attracted to the warm and beautiful sound of the marimba, but the vibes… man, you ask tough questions!
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
DM: I was born and raised in Texas. The most interesting thing about my childhood is that there was absolutely no reason why I should have pursued music. Everyone thought it was a crazy dream, but fortunately a dream I continue to follow. My advice to students is to follow your own passion, not someone else’s.