Mark Morris

Mark Morris

MARK MORRIS, praised as “the most successful and influential choreographer alive, and indisputably the most musical” (The New York Times), 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 over 150 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. Morris is also an acclaimed ballet choreographer, with twenty-two works commissioned by ballet companies worldwide.

Noted for his musicality, Morris 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 Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center, and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). In 2013, he served as Music Director for the Ojai Music Festival. Morris 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.

He was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 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. Mark Morris: Musician-Choreographer, by musicologist Stephanie Jordan, was released in 2015. Morris’s memoir, Out Loud, co-written with Wesley Stace, was published in paperback by Penguin Press in October 2021.

A Doris Duke Artist, Morris 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 and Protégé Arts Initiative. He has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity, the International Society for the Performing Arts’ Distinguished Artist Award, the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music Award, and the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award. In 2015, Morris was inducted into the Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Morris opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2001 to provide a home for his company, subsidized rental space for local artists, community education programs for children and seniors, and a school offering dance classes to students of all ages and levels of experience with and without disabilities.


May 04, 2016 ArtsFund Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award ArtsFund
May 03, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
August 09, 2015 Inductee to the Mr. and Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame National Museum of Dance
March 24, 2014 Orchestra of St. Luke's Gift of Music Award Orchestra of St. Luke's
March 22, 2012 Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity Smithsonian Associates and Creativity Foundation
January 11, 2012 International Society for the Performing Arts Distinguished Artist Award International Society for the Performing Arts
April 12, 2008 The Jade Award Irvine Barclay Theatre and Cheng Hall
October 25, 2007 The Independent Award Brown University Club of New York
September 17, 2007 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) Bessies
July 18, 2007 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement American Dance Festival
October 30, 2006 New York City Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission
October 24, 2006 WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award WQXR
January 14, 2003 2002 Critics’ Circle Dance Award (UK), Best Modern Choreography The Critics’ Circle
February 15, 2002 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance The Society of London Theatre
November 19, 2001 New York State Governor’s Arts Award New York State
June 04, 2001 Distinguished Artist Award Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County
February 16, 1998 Laurence Olivier Award, Best New Dance Production (L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato) The Society of London Theatre
November 28, 1997 Evening Standard Award Evening Standard Newspaper
April 17, 1997 Capezio Achievement Award The Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, Inc.
April 15, 1991 Dance Magazine Award Dance Magazine
September 12, 1990 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) The Bessies
September 13, 1984 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) The Bessies

Mark Morris Dance Center

3 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1415
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Phone: 718.624.8400
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