Mark Morris Dance Group

About Mark Morris


MARK MORRIS was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980, and has since created more than 140 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Much in demand as a ballet choreographer, Morris has created eighteen ballets since 1986 and his work is in the repertory of companies worldwide. Noted for musicality, he has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music” (The New Yorker). He began conducting performances for MMDG in 2006 and has since conducted at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Lincoln Center, and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Music director for the 2013 Ojai Music Festival, he also works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others. In 1991, he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. He has taught at the University of Washington, Princeton University and Tanglewood Music Center. He is the subject of a biography, Mark Morris, by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Marlowe & Company published a volume of photographs and critical essays entitled Mark Morris’ L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: A Celebration. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and has served as an Advisory Board Member for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. In recent years, he has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010), the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity (2012) and Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts (2013).

  • Artistic Director, Mark Morris Dance Group (1980 – present)
  • Director of Dance, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (1988 – 1991)
  • Co-Founder, White Oak Dance Project

Honors and Awards (Highlights)

  • Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts, 2013
  • Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate Award, 2012
  • Honorary Doctorate, Cornish College of the Arts, 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate, Roehampton University, 2010
  • Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, 2010
  • Honorary Doctorate, Centenary College, 2009
  • American Philosophical Society, Member, 2008
  • The Independent Award, Brown University Club of New York, 2007
  • Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, 2007
  • WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award, 2006
  • New York City Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture, 2006
  • Honorary Doctorate, Bates College, 2006
  • Honorary Doctorate, Bard College, 2006
  • American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fellow, 2005
  • Honorary Doctorate, George Mason University, 2005
  • Honorary Doctorate, Bowdoin College, 2003
  • Honorary Doctorate, Pratt Institute, 2003
  • Laurence Olivier Award (UK), Outstanding Achievement in Dance, 2002
  • Critics' Circle National Dance Award (UK), Best Modern Choreography, 2002
  • Critics' Circle National Dance Award (UK), Best Foreign Dance Company, 2002
  • Time Out Live Awards (UK), Outstanding Production (V), 2002
  • Honorary Doctorate, Long Island University, 2002
  • County of Los Angeles Distinguished Artist Award, 2001
  • New York State Governor's Arts Award, 2001
  • Honorary Doctorate, The Juilliard School, 2001
  • Best of Boston, Mark Morris & Yo-Yo Ma, Best Duet, 1999
  • Laurence Olivier Award (UK), Best New Dance Production (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato), 1998
  • Evening Standard Award (UK), 1997
  • Capezio Achievement Award, 1997
  • Scotsman/Hamada Trust Festival Prize, Edinburgh Festival, 1995
  • Honorary Doctorate, Boston Conservatory of Music, 1994
  • Edinburgh International Critics Award, 1994
  • Edinburgh International Critics Award, 1992
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, 1991
  • Dance Magazine Award, 1991
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1986
  • New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”), 1984, 1990, 2007
  • Numerous honors include Choreographic Fellowships from the New York and New Jersey State Councils on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.