Moses George Hogan, a classical pianist, composer and internationally renowned arranger of American spirituals, died Feb. 11 of undetermined causes at St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Home in Harvey, La. He was 45.
Born in New Orleans, Hogan did not study piano formally but was accompanying choirs at two churches by the time he was 6.
A member of the first class at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, he studied with jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis. In pursuit of a career as a classical pianist, he won a scholarship to Oberlin College and later studied at Juilliard. In 1977, he won first place in the 28th annual Kosciusko Foundation Chopin Competition in New York.
He returned to New Orleans and gradually turned his attention fully to choral music.
In 1980, Hogan started the New World Ensemble choir and soon was composing for it. In the 1990s, he formed the Moses Hogan Chorale and later the Moses Hogan Singers, which appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Sydney Opera House, among other prestigious venues. In recent years, Hogan was in demand internationally as an arranger and composer. In 1995, he was commissioned to arrange and perform several compositions for PBS docu “The American Promise.”
Hogan’s groups released recordings in conjunction with other ensembles, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In 1999, he was selected as editor of “The Oxford Book of Spirituals.” He was constantly at work both as an arranger and composer.
At the time of his death, Hogan was artist-in-residence at both Dillard and Loyola universities. He recently received the Tribute to the Classical Arts Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his preeminence in keeping the spiritual traditional alive and vital in schools, churches and concert halls.
Survivors include his father and mother; a brother; and four sisters.