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Mark Morris and Simon Morrison in Conversation at Princeton University


Marguerite d'Aprile-Smith    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ) Princeton University’s Program in Dance and the Department of Music will co-sponsor A Conversation with Mark Morris and Simon Morrison on Wednesday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m. in McCosh Hall, room 50. This event, part of the Masters of Dance series at the Lewis Center for the Arts, is presented in conjunction with an 8:00 p.m. performance of the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Matthews Theater, McCarter Theatre Center.

Hailed as one of America’s greatest choreographers of the 20th century, Mark Morris founded the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and since then has collaborated with a broad array of artistic luminaries ranging from Yo-Yo Ma and Zakir Hussain to The Bad Plus. Morris is noted for his musicality and has been described as “undeviating in his devotion” to scores. His dance company is unsurpassed in its commitment to performing with live music. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Simon Morrison, Professor of Music at Princeton University, teaches courses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, with an emphasis on Russia and France. He is the author of Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement (2002) and The People’s Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years (2009), and the editor of the Bard Music Festival volume Prokofiev and His World (2008).

Mark Morris and Simon Morrison collaborated on a production of Prokofiev's original 1935 version of Romeo & Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare, for which Morrison reconstituted the composer’s original intentions and twenty minutes of previously unheard music, and for which Mark Morris provided choreography. The production was premiered at the Bard Summerscape Festival in July 2008.

“What defines Mark Morris,” said Morrison, “are his remarkable choreographic innovations as well as his sensitivity to, and respect for, archival sources. Morris goes back to source musical materials and reanimates them with his choreography. His works are historically minded, but they are not bogged down with history. They are about the present, the experience of the moment.”

The conversation with Mark Morris is the final lecture this season in the newly established Masters of Dance series, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Dance with funding from the 1932 Visiting Lecturer Fund. Susan Marshall, the award-winning choreographer  who recently began her tenure as the Director of the Program in Dance at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, launched the series in January as yet another example of the University’s deepening commitment to the arts.

A Conversation with Mark Morris and Simon Morrison is free and open to the public. Tickets are required for the 8 p.m. performance at McCarter. For more information visit: There will be a reception in the Woolworth Atrium following the conversation, sponsored by Butler College, the Department of Music and the Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Dance. All are welcome.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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