In 1943 he moved to New York, where he decided to live as a street musician and poet, and this environment inspired most of his music, including some jazz influences from the streets, where he met Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker. He used to stay on a corner in Manhattan, later to be known as Moondog corner, wearing home made clothes and a viking helmet, and playing keyboards and some home made drums. His song Bird's Lament is a tribute to Charlie Parker.
In 1974 he went to Germany where he met Ilona Sommer, a young student who hosted him, became his manager and helped him transfer his works from Braille to sheet music.
In 1989 he was invited by Philip Glass to conduct the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Philip Glass has written that he and Steve Reich took Moondog's work "very seriously and understood and appreciated it".
Moondog died in Germany in 1999.
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