Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Ben Morris is a Texas-based composer and jazz pianist whose music tells unconventional stories and crosses genre boundaries. He earned his bachelor's degree in music composition at University of Miami, master's degree at Rice University and his Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition at University of Colorado Boulder.

Morris's creative work and research is inspired by his Norwegian heritage. He lived in Oslo, Norway, on a Fulbright Grant composing a work for extended big band and video and received an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant to research the influence of folk music on Norwegian jazz.

His debut album, "Pocket Guides," was released in June 2022 on Origin/OA2 Records and takes elements from Norwegian folk music, jazz and contemporary chamber music. The album garnered him two Downbeat Awards, an ASCAP Herb Alpert Award, a big band commission from New York Youth Symphony's First Music and an invitation to perform with his quintet at Newport Jazz Festival.

Also a versatile film, theatre and opera composer, Morris scored the documentary films "American River," which premiered at Montclair Film in 2021, and "Saving the Great Swamp: The Battle to Defeat the Jetport," which won best documentary at the 2017 New Jersey Film Festival.

A frequent collaborator with librettist Laura Fuentes, he premiered a 20-minute opera, "Las Auténticas," for the Washington National Opera American Opera Initiative, presented a multimedia opera, "The Fall of Man and Other Tales," at the ATLAS B2 Black Box and is currently working with Fuentes on commissions for Glimmerglass Opera and Art Song Colorado.

Morris seeks opportunities to write for unique ensembles that blur established genre expectations. He has worked with:

  • American Composers Orchestra
  • Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center trombonist Vincent Gardner
  • Unassisted fold
  • NOW Ensemble
  • Imani Winds
  • Boulder Altitude Directive
  • The Living Earth Show
  • Playground Ensemble
  • and the NDR Big Band.

He has been a composer fellow at music festivals and workshops including:

  • Aspen Music Festival
  • American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute
  • Red Note Festival
  • Sibelius Academy Creative Dialogue
  • New Music on the Point
  • International Gugak Workshop
  • highScore
  • Source Song Festival
  • and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.

His concert music has received accolades including an ASCAP Morton Gould Award and the International Society of Bassists Composition Contest Grand Prize.

Related documents

  • CV

    File: application/pdf, 222 KB

    Type: CV