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Choreographer Morris holds conversation with scholar Morrison

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009, 5 p.m. McCosh 50

Renowned choreographer Mark Morris and Princeton music scholar Simon Morrison, who have collaborated on a new production of "Romeo and Juliet," will present a talk at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in McCosh 50.

The event, titled "A Conversation With Mark Morris and Simon Morrison," is planned in conjunction with an 8 p.m. performance of the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Matthews Theatre of the McCarter Theatre Center.

Morris and Morrison collaborated on a production of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev's original 1935 version of "Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare." For this production, Morrison reconstituted the composer's original intentions and 20 minutes of previously unheard music, while Morris provided choreography. The production was premiered at the Bard Summerscape Festival in July 2008 and currently is on an international tour.

"What defines Mark Morris are his remarkable choreographic innovations as well as his sensitivity to, and respect for, archival sources," Morrison said. "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, chiefly the joy of being alive."

Hailed as one of America's greatest choreographers of the 20th century, Morris founded the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and has collaborated with artists ranging from celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma to tabla legend Zakir Hussain to the jazz trio the Bad Plus. Morris is noted for his musicality, and his dance company is committed 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 Royal Opera.

Morrison, a professor of music, teaches courses on 19th- and 20th-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). He has reconstructed lost productions of Prokofiev's ballet "Le Pas d'Acier" and the classic Russian drama "Boris Godunov" for world-premiere performances at Princeton.

The conversation, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Program in Theater and Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts and by the Department of Music.

For ticket information on the Mark Morris Dance Group's performance, call the McCarter box office at 258-2787 or visit the McCarter website.

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