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Moses G. Hogan, 45; Arranged Spirituals, Led His Own Chorale

February 14, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Moses G. Hogan, 45, who won acclaim as an arranger of spirituals and leader of a choir that specialized in the idiom, died Tuesday in New Orleans. He had been hospitalized since September because of a brain tumor.

Hogan was conductor of the Moses Hogan Chorale, a 40-member ensemble he founded in 1993 to preserve and perform African American spirituals. It was one of only two American choirs invited to sing at the 1996 World Choral Symposium in Sydney, Australia, and was the first African American choir to perform there.

The chorale toured across the United States and Europe and was praised for its mesmerizing blending of voices in a vocal tradition that dated to the time of slavery.

"They have great dynamic control and a natural, unexaggerated sense of swing," a Los Angeles Times critic wrote in 1999. "As an arranger of spirituals, Hogan is by turns tricky, eloquent and unpredictable."

Citing a desire to move on to other projects, Hogan disbanded the group at the end of 1999 after a final performance in San Francisco. He edited the Oxford Book of Spirituals, which was published in September 2001 by Oxford University Press and became the top seller in the Oxford press' American division.

Hogan, a pianist, was a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts who also studied at the Juilliard School. His arrangements have been published by Hal Leonard Corp. and sung by performers including soprano Barbara Hendricks and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

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