Mark Morris

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2016

New York, NY

Noted for musicality, choreographer Mark Morris has an unparalleled devotion to music. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980 and has created close to 150 works for the company. Live music and community engagement are vital components of MMDG, which offers education in dance and music to people of all ages and abilities. His recent Acis and Galatea (2014) was a staging of the Mozart arrangement of Handel’s opera by the same name. It featured MMDG dancers, opera singers, and a creative team including fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. He formed the MMDG Music Ensemble in 1996 and began conducting for MMDG in 2006. To date, he has received 11 honorary doctorates, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, among others. His newest MMDG work, Layla and Majnun, a collaboration with The Silk Road Ensemble, premieres in September 2016.

  • Photo Credit: Amber Star
    Mark Morris
  • Mark Morris- Spring, Spring, Spring (2013):
    Spring, Spring, Spring (2013)
  • Mark Morris- Acis and Galatea (2014):
    Acis and Galatea (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Ken Friedman
    Acis and Galatea (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Mat Hayward
    The (2015)
  • Photo Credit: Ani Collier
    Words (2014)

Artistically, what do you do and why do you do it?

I am a choreographer of dances to music. I use words only in the context of musical settings. Music and dance are fundamental products of human imagination and civilization. At some point, in the West, there occurred a schism between these two closely related forms. I maintain that they are inseparable and do my best to work in a fully realized choreomusical mode. My company, the Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble, is a full-time outfit with the primary mission of presenting my work in dance, music, and opera to as wide a public as possible. My work tends toward the harmonious, the consonant, the hopeful, the surprising. I am a pacifist, a queer, a feminist, and an artist.