Vera Moore (1896–1997) was a New Zealand concert pianist.[1] She is considered to be the first New Zealand pianist to gain international recognition.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Moore was born in Dunedin, the youngest of five children of Herbert and Charlotte Moore.[3] The family was a musical one - her father was a church organist and a piano teacher, and her older brother Frederick later became a professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London.[3][4] Another brother, Irvin, became a church organist in Gisborne, in the North Island of New Zealand.[5] Following lessons at home, Moore began entering piano competitions at the age of 7, in 1903. She competed in Dunedin and Christchurch competitions, gaining many first-placings. She also won first prize of a grand piano at a Christchurch competition when aged 16, in 1912.[2]


From 1917 Moore performed as a soloist and as an accompanist at recitals around the South Island.[6][7] She moved to England in 1920, where she initially studied piano under her brother Frederick, followed by four years as a pupil of Leonard Borwick.[4][8] In the 1920s, Moore became friends with the artist Winifred Nicholson, and was the subject in one of Nicholson's paintings, Woman Playing a Piano.[9]

Moore enjoyed a successful performing career in England and Europe, receiving particular acclaim for her renditions of the work of Debussy and Chopin.[10] Indeed, in 1931 Debussy's widow attended a concert by Moore and wrote her a congratulatory note for her "exquisite" performance.[11] Moore returned to New Zealand for visits and to give recitals in 1924 and 1928. In 1928, she stopped en route in Melbourne to perform at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music.[4] Her Christchurch concert in the same year was described by critics as "phenomenal".[2][12]

On occasion, when her brother Frederick was overseas examining for the Associated Board of the Royal Academy, Moore took his place at the Royal Academy.[13]

In the late 1930s, Moore was frequently invited to perform for BBC broadcasts.[14] In 1937, she performed as part of the BBC's New Zealand Day radio broadcast.[15]

Moore retired to a small French village, Monfort-l’Amaury near Paris, where she provided private tutoring in piano, poetry and philosophy. Amongst her students were mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch and pianist Pierre-Alain Volondat.[8][16]

Personal lifeEdit

Moore met the Romanian artist Constantin Brâncuși in 1931, when their mutual friend, art critic H.S. Ede, invited Brâncuși to one of Moore's concerts.[17] The couple began a relationship, and in 1934 she gave birth to their son, John Moore.[1][18] Brâncuși never acknowledged his son as his own.[17]


  1. ^ a b "Bonhams : Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) Two boats 10 x 14 cm. (4 x 5 1/2 in.)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  2. ^ a b c Crawshaw, Sandra (2015). The Reception of the Music of Cécile Chaminade in Colonial New Zealand (1894 -1934): Contexts and Institutions. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago.
  3. ^ a b "Dunedin New Zealand - Site de lesamisdeveramoore !". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  4. ^ a b c National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | NEW ZEALAND PIANISTE. (Auckland Star, 1928-08-07)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  5. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | MISS VERA MOORE'S FAREWELL. (Poverty Bay Herald, 1920-05-05)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  6. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | A BRILLIANT TENOR (Timaru Herald, 1919-04-26)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  7. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | P.W.M.U. CONCERT. (Clutha Leader, 1917-05-25)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  8. ^ a b "Hampsong Foundation » Singers on Singing: Sophie Koch". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  9. ^ "Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  10. ^ "'FRANCE', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. April 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  11. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | THEATRICAL NOTES. (New Zealand Herald, 1931-02-28)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  12. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | VERA MOORE PIANO RECITAL. (Press, 1924-03-31)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  13. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | N.Z. ARTIST (Press, 1933-12-29)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  14. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | BROADCASTING FROM THE B.B.C. (Evening Post, 1939-08-19)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  15. ^ National Library of New Zealand. "Papers Past | NEW ZEALAND DAY (Evening Post, 1937-01-25)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  16. ^ "FAURÉ: Pelleas et Melisande / Valses-caprices". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  17. ^ a b "Brancusi's women: Constantin Brancusi died 50 years ago this month". Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  18. ^ "Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)". Retrieved 2016-08-14.

External linksEdit