Pocket Guides Available for Pre-order NOW!
Pre-order on Bandcamp
Pocket Guides, my debut album, is releasing on OA2/Origin Records on June 17th, 2022!
The album is available to pre-order NOW on Bandcamp, and the album art is LIVE — everyone gets to stream two of the tracks off the album now, and those who pre-order secure a download of the album as soon as it releases in June!
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.
Recording Pocket Guides at Mighty Fine Studios
Album Release Spring 2022
The Ben Morris Ensemble recorded Ben's eight original tunes for his debut album, Pocket Guides, with engineer Colin Bricker at Mighty Fine Studios in Denver, Colorado. The music will release in spring 2022.
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.
Pendulum New Music
Premiere of "Pandemic Poems and Pieces" and "Map of My Room"
Pianist Maggie Hinchliffe and guitarist Ilan Blanck will perform Ben's "Pandemic Poems and Pieces" and "Map of My Room" respectively at CU Pendulum Concert Series.
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-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.
New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission
Ben received a commission from the New York Youth Symphony to compose a new big band chart for the 2020-2021 season, to be premiered in NYC and at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
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.
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.
ATLAS Fellowship from CU Boulder
Morris will be an ATLAS Fellow at CU Boulder, pursuing his DMA in music composition beginning Fall 2019. In the third year of his studies, he will develop a multimedia project in the ATLAS black box theatre.
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.
Fulbright Grant to Oslo, Norway
Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway
Ben was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study jazz composition for ten months with Helge Sunde at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway, composing a large ensemble work as a summary of his experience there.
International Gugak Workshop at the National Gugak Center
Seoul, South Korea
Ben was a fellow at the International Gugak Workshop at the National Gugak Center in Seoul, Korea, learning Korean traditional instruments.
Saving the Great Swamp: The Battle to Defeat the Jetport
Film Score premiere at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts, Morristown, NJ
Ben scored Scott Morris' documentary Saving the Great Swamp: The Battle to Defeat the Jetport, which premiered to a packed house at the Mayo Center for the Arts in Morristown, New Jersey.
American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute
Columbia University Miller Theater, NYC, NY
The American Composers Orchestra read Ben's work Old Seven Mile at Columbia Miller Theater as part of their Jazz Composers' Orchestra reading sessions, along with the works of six other composers.