Davitt Moroney was born in England in 1950. He studied organ and harpsichord with Susi Jeans, Kenneth Gilbert and Gustav Leonhardt, and musicology with Thurston Dart and Howard Mayer Brown. He entered the doctoral program at UC Berkeley in 1975, completing his Ph.D. in 1980. For 21 years he was based in Paris, working primarily as a freelance recitalist in many countries. He has made nearly 70 CDs, especially of music by J. S. Bach, William Byrd, and members of the Couperin dynasty. Many of these recordings feature historic 17th- and 18th-century organs and harpsichords. They include William Byrd's complete keyboard works, the complete harpsichord and organ music of Louis Couperin, J. S. Bach's "The Well tempered Clavier", "French Suites", "Musical Offering", complete sonatas for flute and harpsichord, and for violin and harpsichord, as well as "The Art of Fugue" (a work he has recorded twice). He has also recorded a Froberger recital played on the oldest organ surviving in France (built by Robert Dallam in 1653) and the entire contents of Marc-Roger Normand Couperin's harpsichord manuscript. He recently completed a recording (12 discs) of the complete harpsichord music by François Couperin:
His recordings have been awarded the French "Grand Prix du Disque" (1996), the German "Preis der Deutschen Schallplatenkritik" (2000), and three British "Gramophone Awards" (1986, 1991, 2000). In 1987 he was named "Chevalier dans l'Ordre du mérite culturel" by Prince Rainier of Monaco and, in 2000, "Officier des arts et des lettres" by the French government. In 2001, he returned to California to teach at UC Berkeley where until 2016 he was Professor of Music and also University Organist. Among his many scholarly publications, his monograph "Bach, An Extraordinary Life" was published in 2000 and has since been translated into many languages. In 2005 he rediscovered Alessandro Striggio's masterpiece, the "Mass in 40 and 60 Parts," one of the greatest lost works of the Italian Renaissance. It had been composed in Florence for the Medici family but had last been seen in 1726. Following his identification of the work (which had been miscatalogued in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, without its title, and under an erroneous description and the name of a non existent composer), he conducted the first modern performance in London's Royal Albert Hall in July 2007, to a live audience of 7,500 people; the concert was also broadcast live to a radio audience of over seven million people, in six countries. Since retiring from teaching, he has returned to his home in Paris, where he continues to do research, play concerts, and make recordings.