Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Diane Moser has been composing and performing solo piano and ensemble music professionally since 1973 throughout the United States. Raised in Ankeny, Iowa, she began playing the piano at the age of 5, adding instruments guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax and coronet to the list through the years in school. She began her professional career as a solo jazz pianist at the age of 15. She learned her craft like so many before her, "on the bandstand' with the help and encouragement of the top musicians in Des Moines, Iowa. After graduated Ankeny High School in 1975, she went to Iowa City, Iowa, to attend the University of Iowa. There, she became involved with the arts scene that was exploding throughout the university and the town. She played in the University of Iowa Big Band (and awarded a NAJE Special Citation for Outstanding Musicianship/Individual Piano Recognition at the Elmhurst College's Mid-West College Jazz Festival), performed in the Center for New Music with Wil Parsons and Steve Schick, was a pianist for the A. Ludwig Dance Co., led two of her own bands "Talk of the Town" and "Satori", was a guest artist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony and theTri-City Symphony, while studying classical piano, performing with various artists, and composing for her own bands, dance, poetry, theater and film. In 1977, she moved to San Diego, California, where she was immediately engulfed in the jazz and new music scene. While there, she performed with Mark Dresser, Jim French, Daniel Jackson, Gerry Hemingway, Charles McPherson, Jimmy and Jeannie Cheatham, Dave Millard, Diamanda Galas, Bert Turetsky, Juma Santos, Duncan Moore and others. She also worked with California Ballet, A. Ludwig Co., and San Diego State University and various theater and spoken word groups in the city. She would also go up to Los Angeles where she would play with Curtis Pagler and Popeye Maupin.
1979 was the year of her biggest event-the birth of her son, Chad. In 1981, now a single mother and with Chad in tow, she moved to Brooklyn, NY. There she started another career- music educator-teaching piano at the Harbor Conservatory, class room music at Brooklyn Friends School, Corlears School, Grace Church School workshop artist with the Brooklyn Childrens Museum and Hospital Audiences, and was in the dance department at Brooklyn College. While finishing up her BA at Empire State College, she continued to perform and compose with various groups and artists such as NYC Tapworks, Mara Alper (puppeteer/filmmaker), was an artist-in-residence at the University of Rhode Island (contributing composer and arranger for "A Spirits' Warrior Dream", a musical created and performed with URI students) and would fly down to Florida to work with choreographer Babs Case in her dance company, Babs & Co., at The Center for the Arts in Stewart, FL. She was also a guest performer and composer on the Women in Jazz Festival in Des Moines, Iowa in 1984 & 1985. In 1988, she and Chad moved to Montclair, NJ and she started work on her masters at Manhattan School of Music, studying with Harold Danko and Jaki Byard (completed in 1990). She continued to perform with NYC Tapworks, and worked as a music educator at the Montclair Cooperative School and Upsala College, and started her own piano studio. She also performed with various artist of all disciplines, and in 1995, formed Klezpoets with published poet Marilyn Mohr. In 1995, once again she went back to Des Moines, Iowa to co-create/compose and perform an experimental music/theater piece called "The Trial of Jazz", with her former teacher/colleague jazz pianist Stu Calhoun. It was produced and broadcast on Iowa Public Television.
In 1997, she formed the Composers Big Band (later renamed Diane Moser's Composers big Band at the insistence of it's members). And began their monthly gigs at Tierney's Tavern. A few months later, she formed the Composers Forum of Montclair,NJ , where she acted as artistic director, performer, and contributing composer. With the help of Natascha Radke Henke, and many behind-the-scenes individuals, they produced 10 concerts that represented new works from 50 composers and involved 136 performers. The new works ranged from a new opera with a 10 piece chamber ensemble, chamber music, vocal ensembles, big band, improvised music ensembles and film. While directing these two projects, she was also (and continues to be) a Composer in Residence at the Central Presbyterian Church of Montclair, NJ, where she created 3 extended jazz cantatas (2 were collaborations with librettist Carolyn Crocker) that were performed with music director Dr. Gaylord French and the church choir. Also, she and Dr. French developed a noon-time concert series at the church, where both performed music for piano and organ. There were also guest performers and an art exhibit entitled "Music As Art/Art As Music". During this time, she also collaborated with poet/play write Lora Cooper, to create "2012; A Masque for the Millennium", which was performed at the equity theater, Luna Stage for their "Women Work Series", in March 1999. Also in 1999, she created the Diane Moser Quintet, with Ben Williams (trombone), Andy Eulau (bass), Barbara Allen (drums) and Bob Hanlon (tenor). A literary/music collaboration with Roselee Blooston and Tunnel Vision Writer's Project, entitled "Future Feminine-New Women for the 21st Century", of which she received a Meet the Composer grant, was presented in March 2002.
She continues to live and teach out of her studio in Montclair,NJ. In January 2000, she was named as "one of 20 artist to watch in the year 2000", by the Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ. She has been featured pianist/composer with Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway, Charles McPherson, Curtis Pagler,Jim French, Diamanda Galas, Yale Strom, Andrew Cyrille, Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Tri-City Symphony, The Drfiters and others. She's been a resident composer/pianist at dance companies such as NYC Tapworks (NYC, NY 1988-1990), Babs Case & Co. (Stewart, Fl 1984-1985), California Ballet (San Diego, CA 1978-1979), and A. Ludwig Co. (Iowa City, IA & San Diego, CA 1975-1980). She's been a music educator doing at a private piano studio (Montclair, NJ and Brooklyn, NY 1984-Present), Grace Church School (Brooklyn, NY 1985-1997), Upsala College (East Orange,NJ 1990-1992), Montclair Cooperative School (Montclair,NJ 1998-1992), Corlears School (NYC, NY 1987-1988), Hospital Audiences (NYC, NY 1987-1983), Brooklyn Children's Museum (Brooklyn, NY 1984-1987), Harbor Conservatory (Hewlitt, NY 1981-1983), Brooklyn College (Brooklyn, NY 1981-1982) and San Diego State University (San Diego, CA 1979-1980).
"Looking Forward,Looking Back"-Diane Moser Quintet (Oct 2002); Diane Moser's Composers Big Band-Live at Tierney's Tavern (2000); Looking Forward, Looking Back (2002); Yale Strom and Hot Pastrami (to be released 2003); Diane Moser Sextet (To be released 2003); Diane Moser and Chad Moser/Short Stories (still in production)