Simon Morrison specializes in 20th-century music, particularly Russian and Soviet music, with special interests in dance, cinema, and historically informed performance based on extensive archival research. He is a leading authority on composer Sergey Prokofiev and has received unprecedented access to the composer’s papers, housed in Moscow at RGALI. Morrison received his B.Mus. from the University of Toronto (1987), a Master's in Musicology from McGill University (1993), and the Ph.D. from Princeton University (1997), where he is Professor of Music. His distinctions include the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society (1999), an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (2001), and a Phi Beta Kappa Society Teacher Award (2006).
Morrison is author of The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years (Oxford University Press, 2009) as well as Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement (University of California Press, 2002). As Scholar-in-Residence for the 2008 Bard Music Festival, he edited the essay collection Sergey Prokofiev and His World (Princeton University Press, 2008). Among his other publications are essays on Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Rimsky-Korsakov, Scriabin, Shostakovich’s ballet The Bolt, numerous reviews and shorter articles, including pieces for the New York Times. Morrison is actively engaged in the performing arts, most notably ballet, and has translated his archival findings into new productions. In 2005 he oversaw the recreation of the Prokofiev ballet Le Pas d’Acier at Princeton University and in 2007 co-produced a world premiere staging of Alexander Pushkin's drama Boris Godunov featuring Prokofiev’s incidental music and Vsevolod Meyerhold’s directorial concepts. In 2008, Morrison restored the scenario and score of the original (1935) version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet for the Mark Morris Dance Group. The project involved orchestrating act IV (featuring a happy ending) from Prokofiev’s annotations and rearranging the order and adjusting the content of acts I-III. This version of the ballet was premiered on July 4, 2008 and began an international tour in September. He has also recently brought to light Prokofiev’s score Music for athletes/Fizkul’turnaya muzyka (1939).
At present Morrison is researching and writing L, a work of biographical non-fiction under contract with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.