Robert D. Morris

Professor of Composition

Affiliate Faculty, Music Theory
Academic Leave Spring Semester 2022




Chair of the Composition Department (1999-2005, 2009-11), University Mentor (1982), Bridging Fellowship (Department of Religion and Classics, 1997), University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching (1996). BM, Eastman; MM, DMA, University of Michigan.

Recipient, Margaret Lee Crofts Composition Fellowship (1967), MacDowell Colony Fellowship (1975), A. Whitney Griswold Award (1975), American Music Center grants (1975, 1991), NEA grant (1978), ACLS Fellowship (1983), Hanson Institute for American Music (1997, 2000, 2005). Winner, Harvey Gaul Composition Competition (1982), New Music Delaware Competition (1997). Commendation from Paris New Music Review (1997).

Guest composer: Composer to Composer Conference, Telluride (CO)(1990); ISCM Festival of Contemporary Music (1990); Composers’ Symposium, University of New Mexico (1991); Kobe International Modern Music Festival in Japan (1991); The UCSB Contemporary Music Festival (1992); the Heidelberg Festival (2005). Commissions include: Yale Summer School of Music and Arts, Pittsburgh Chamber Symphony, Yale Band, Blackearth Percussion Group, Festival of Contemporary Organ Music, Chamber Arts Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Alienor Harpsichord Foundation, Rochester Philharmonic, National Flute Association, New Millennium Ensemble, Speculum Speculae, CUBE Contemporary Music Ensemble, Smith Publications, Mid-American Center for Contemporary Music, Ossia, Hanson Institute for American Music, ISCM. Music published by Morris Music. Recordings on CRI, New World, Music Gallery Editions, Neuma, Music and Arts, Fanfare, Centaur, Open Space, Albany Records, Attacca, and Music Gallery Editions.

Publications include Composition with Pitch-Classes: A Theory of Compositional Design (Yale, 1987), winner of the Society for Music Theory’s Distinguished Publication Award (1988), Class Notes for Atonal Music Theory (1991, Frog Peak), Advanced Class Notes for Atonal Music Theory (2004, Frog Peak). Articles in Journal of Music Theory, Asterisk*, Perspectives of New Music, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music Theory Spectrum, and other journals. Co-Editor, Perspectives of New Music. Editorial Board, Open Space Magazine, Journal of Music Theory, The Stefan Wolpe Society. Vice-President of the Society for Music Theory (1998-2000).

Director, Yale School of Music Electronic Music Studio (1972-77), University of Pittsburgh Electronic Studio (1976-80). Faculty member, Yale (1969-77), University of Pittsburgh (1976-80), Berkshire Music Center (1982), Eastman (1980-).

Works / Publications


Two versions of my most recent piece “Entelechy 2012” for piano with electronic modification

— and two versions of my improvisational, electro-acoustic piece “Mysterious Landscape”

Engagements / Professional Activities

Performances of Wildlife (oboe, piano, and percussion), Ode (piano) and Out and Out (clarinet and piano) CUBE Contemporary Music Ensemble, Renaissance Society, Chicago, 7 pm, June 9, 2005.

Guest Composer. Heidelberg Contemporary Music Festival, Tiffin, Ohio, April 22-24, 2005; Master class; Performances of Wye: Lynes Composed for Tinturn Abbey (soprano and computer generated sounds), Raudra (flute solo) and Traces (flute and piano); Public lecture: “Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.”

“Towards a Buddhist Music: Precursors East and West,” Alfred University Sibley Lecture, April 26, 2005; New York University Composition Symposium, April 13, 2005.

“Some Thoughts on my Music and its Poetics,” Music Department, University of Maryland, March 5, 2005.

Performance of Cuts (for large wind ensemble), United States Marine Band, Captain Jason K. Fettig, conductor, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, March 6, 2005.

Performance of Entanglements (viola and computer-generated sounds) John Graham, Faculty Artist Series, Kilbourn Hall, January 25, 2005.

Performance of Meandering River, Fang-Tzu Liu, piano, Cambrian College, Sudbury, Canada, January 26, 2005; National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, June 19, 2004; Hsin Chu City Concert Hall, Taiwan, May 30, 2004.

Guest Composer, University of Ohio at Bowling Green, Dec. 2-3, 2004; Performances of Hamiltonian Cycle: Saxophone (alto saxophone), Wye: Lynes Composed for Tinturn Abbey (soprano and computer generated sounds),
Raudra (flute solo) and Traces (flute and piano); Master class.

“Aspects of Post-Tonal Canon Systems.” National Convention of the Society of Music Theory, in Seattle, Washington, Nov. 12, 2004.

Residency at the music department of the University of Chicago, May 3-7, 2004: Composition Symposium (on Safety in Numbers), Ethnomusicology Class, paper, “Crowns: Rhythmic Cadences in South Indian Music” in Ethnoise seminar, Theory Seminar (on Schoenberg s Opus 23, 3) and paper The Survival of Serious Music: Musical Citizenship in South India.

Composition Master Class, Northwestern University, May 7, 2004.

Participant in Radcliffe Seminar at Harvard University on “Presenting Music,” April 27-8, 2004.

Composition Symposium (on Safety in Numbers and Cold Mountain Songs) Stanford University, Palo Alto, Ca., March 11, 2004.

Composition Symposium (on Après vous) University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fl. February 13, 2004.

“Music in India and the West,” University of Mysore, India, Jan 2, 2004.