The Rip Van Winkles Premiere at Glimmerglass Opera
Premieres August 7-14, 2023
Journey to a secluded upstate town, away from all the hustle and bustle but suspiciously short on cell reception. What will happen when a New York City transplant points out what the kids have been missing? Will the over-protective parents see the error of their ways, or will the grandparents need to step in to save the day? Glimmerglass is proud to present our annual youth opera on the Alice Busch Opera Theater mainstage again this season. This newly commissioned one-hour opera is fun for the whole family; all ages are welcome as we celebrate the talents of some of the youngest performers in our community alongside our Festival artists and world-class production team.
Colorado Sky Premiere
Premieres June 3-4, 2023
COLORADO SKY is a family-friendly shadow puppet opera about a wolf cub named Sky who tries to fit in and make friends in his new home in Colorado. Throughout the opera, Sky tries to connect with various animals and humans in the landscape, but is rejected. Encouraged by his mother Luna, Sky realizes that he has to be himself and howl to the moon to connect with his ancestors. The opera was inspired by Colorado Proposition 114, a proposal to reintroduce wolves back into the state of Colorado which passed in 2020. The opera was commissioned by Sohap Ensemble in collaboration with Art Song Colorado, Boulder Opera, and the Broomfield Council on the Arts and Humanities. The opera premieres June 3 and 4 at the Broomfield Auditorium and Dairy Center, respectively.
Pro Musica Colorado Premieres "The Hill of Three Wishes"
Saturday, November 19th, 2022 at Mountain View Methodist Church
The Hill of Three Wishes, premiered and commissioned by the Pro Musica Colorado Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Cynthia Katsarelis, premieres at the Mountain View Methodist Church.
The Fall of Man and Other Tales Premiere
A Multimedia Operatic Journey Premiering at the ATLAS B2 Blackbox at CU Boulder
The Fall of Man and Other Tales is an multimedia opera in nine parts commissioned by the ATLAS B2 Blackbox at CU Boulder. Featuring a libretto by Laura Fuentes and projections by Holiday McAllister and Josh Westerman, the work takes the listener on an immersive journey through different time periods in human history, from prehistory to the far future, exploring themes of isolation and our relationship with our environment. Premieres April 22 and 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm.
Assistant Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin University
Ben has been appointed Assistant Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University, teaching applied composition, film scoring, and orchestration. He is part of a dynamic studio of graduate and undergraduate students, including an expanding online master's program.
A Puppet Opera Premiering in Spring 2023
In collaboration with Art Song Colorado, Sohap Ensemble (Sabina Balsamo and Chas Barnard) is commissioning a new chamber opera about the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado. This family-friendly story features front-facing shadow puppetry and follows a wolf cub named Sky as he tries to fit in and make friends in his new home.
The in-progress piece will feature a libretto by Laura Fuentes and premiere in summer 2023.
Ben Morris Ensemble at Muse Performance Space
Sunday, January 16th, 2022, 7 pm
In advance of recording Ben's debut album, Pocket Guides, the Ben Morris Ensemble perform the eight original tunes on the album live at Muse Performance Space. The exciting set of original music is influenced by traditional Norwegian folk music, modern jazz, and contemporary classical music. The ensemble’s unique instrumentation—saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, Hardanger fiddle, mandolin, cello, and rhythm section—creates a diverse tapestry of music reflecting Ben’s experiences living and studying in Norway, Korea, Colorado, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey.
Pocket Guides: Debut Album Crowdfunding
Campaign runs October 1-November 30th, 2021
Ben's debut album, Pocket Guides, is in the works for a Spring 2022 release. This project is the culmination of years of work, brought together by a fantastic group of twelve musicians.
The compositions on Pocket Guides take elements from traditional Norwegian folk music, modern jazz, and contemporary classical music, tied together by a strong sense of storytelling. This album acts as a kind of travelogue, reflecting Ben's experiences living and studying in Norway, Korea, Colorado, Texas, and New Jersey.
Ben has launched an Indiegogo campaign today to help fund the album. Feel free to share and donate!
American River Film Premiere
Premiere October 23rd, 8 pm at the Montclair Film Festival
American River, a documentary by Scott Morris, will premiere at Montclair Film in NJ, on October 23rd and 24th. Ben composed an original score for the film.
American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant
for DMA dissertation research
Ben will conduct dissertation research at the jazz archives in the National Library of Norway in Oslo, the University of Adger in Kristiansand, and NTNU in Trondheim, funded by an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant. His DMA dissertation will examine the influence of Norwegian folk and contemporary European art music on the Norwegian jazz scene, 1970-present.
New Album Releases
"Teleconference" and "terraform"
Ben's electroacoustic music will be featured on two new album releases, Teleconference by Vice City Brass (August 1st) and terraform by PIVOT Duo (August 6th). 2nd Avenue Saturdays, Einstein on South Beach, and Outdoor Warnings will be included among newly commissioned works by the ensembles.
University of Colorado New Opera Workshop (NOW) Participant
CFI (Composer Fellows Initiative) Participant
Ben worked with librettist Nnamdi Nwankwo to develop a new opera, Perspective, under the direction of Leigh Holman, Jake Heggie, Gene Scheer, and Bud Coleman, at the University of Colorado Boulder's 2021 New Opera Workshop.
"How It's Musically Made" Podcast
A podcast with Maggie Hinchliffe
"How it’s Musically Made" is a podcast focused on the reinvention of the art song tradition through interdisciplinary collaborations. Over nine weeks, three groups of poet, composer, vocalist, and pianist will each collaborate to create an original art song. Hosted by pianist Maggie Hinchliffe and composer Ben Morris, the podcast is a look into each step of the creative process through weekly interviews. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research at the Eastman School of Music.
Washington National Opera American Opera Initiative Commission
The Washington National Opera paired Ben with librettist and playwright Laura Fuentes to create a new opera for their American Opera Initiative Program. The work will be premiered at the Kennedy Center in 2021.
Playground Ensemble Commission
The Playground Ensemble will perform Ben's A (Short) Story of Earth for their Colorado Composer's Concert in February 2021. The ensemble also commissioned Ben to write a new work for their 2021 season. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the premiere's date is to be determined.
Pendulum New Music Concerts
Morris has music featured on the Pendulum New Music series at the University of Colorado Boulder, including the premiere of A (Short) Story of Earth by the Boulder Altitude Directive Ensemble.
CATWALK Institute Residency
"Beowulf Project" with North Pacific Gyre Theatre Collective
The Beowulf Project is North Pacific Gyre Theatre Collective’s next venture. From an ancient story passed down by oral tradition, NPG has been creating an exciting, multidisciplinary and portable performance, featuring live and electronic music drawing from Norwegian folk influences and early music.
Ben Morris Quintet Featured in ASCAP Foundation Interview
It’s become an annual tradition: every year since 2016, The ASCAP Foundation has partnered with the Newport Jazz Festival to offer a live slot at the Festival to an exceptional recipient of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. This year, the Herb Alpert judges chose Ben Morris – a versatile composer/pianist equally accomplished in the jazz and classical realms. He joins a stellar lineup of ASCAP jazz talent, including Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Sons of Kemet, Makaya McCraven, Buika, Jenny Scheinman and more. ASCAP caught up with Ben Morris a few weeks before his Newport debut, to find out what we can expect from his set.
ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award
Edvard received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Jazz Composer's Award. The extended big-band piece premiered in Oslo last year at the Norwegian Academy of Music as part of the Serendip Festival.
Ithaca College David P and Susan W Wohlhueter Jazz Composition Contest
Ben's big band work Ymir's Bones with be performed by the Ithaca College jazz ensemble, featuring Vincent Gardner, as an honorable mention in their jazz composition contest.
Shepherd School of Music Orchestra Premiere
The Rice University Shepherd School of Music orchestra performed House of Stairs at 7:30 on March 22nd, 2019 in Stude Concert Hall in Alice Pratt Brown Hall on the Rice University Campus.
Aspen Music Festival Fellowship
Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies
Ben was a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, where he received a commission and premiere of two new works, one for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and one for the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra.