Ben Morris

Houston-based composer Ben Morris explores the intersections between jazz, concert music, and storytelling. Described by the Huffington Post as “lovely,” his music takes inspiration from images, places, history, current events, and seemingly inconsequential objects and events, from food to athletic events. Mr. Morris is a prolific composer who frequently crosses genres and media, working on diverse projects including theater music, film scores, chamber music, and large ensemble music. A variety of professional ensembles have performed his music throughout the United States.

Mr. Morris graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Composition at Rice University as a Brown Fellow. Morris has worked privately with Lansing McLoskey, Michael Bacon, Karim Al-Zand, Anthony Brandt, Eric Ewazen, the members of Imani Winds, Stephen Hartke, Robert Beaser, Chet Biscardi, Missy Mazzoli, Brian Lynch, Gary Lindsay, Martin Bejerano, Douglas Cuomo, Anthony Davis, Derek Bermel, Julia Wolfe, among others. His music has been performed by the American Composers’ Orchestra, Cadillac Moon, Pulse Trio, LUNAR Ensemble and Gleb Kanasevich, Fredericksburg Brass, Vice City Brass, unassisted fold, The Living Earth Show, members of the American Modern Ensemble, members of the Cleveland Orchestra, IIIZ+, Resound Duo, Scuffed Shoe Duo, Eliot Gattegno, Imani Winds, the Frost Symphony Orchestra, the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band, and the Stamps Ensembles.

Ben Morris received an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 2014, a Downbeat Award, the International Society of Bassists Composition Contest Grand Prize, the 2015 Frost School of Music Orchestra Composition Prize, a New Jersey Music Educators’ Association Young Composers Award, and a Klezmer Company Orchestra Composer’s Prize and Commission, was featured on the Festival Miami Emerging Composers Competition four years in a row, and has scored award-winning online promotional videos for 21st Century Oncology. In the summer of 2013, Mr. Morris was an emerging composer fellow at the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, in summer 2014 he attended the New Music on the Point Festival, in 2015 he participated in the American Composers’ Orchestra Jazz Composers’ Institute and reading session, and in 2016 he traveled to Pavia, Italy to participate in the highScore Festival funded by Lovett and Schumann travel grants.

For the 2015 Roe and Penny Stamps Annual Concert, Ben Morris composed for and conducted two chamber music and jazz crossover ensembles—a dectet and a 19-piece combo. He has been composer-in-residence for the Foundation for Modern Music and the Da Camera Young Artist program in Houston. Ben frequently collaborates with visual artists and dancers, and his music has been featured as part of Rice Gallery New Art New Music Concerts, the James Turrell Skyspace, and the LaTex Electronic Music Festival. He is currently working on a musical, slated for premiere in Spring 2017, about a hermit who lived off the grid for forty years.

Ben Morris has interned with film composer Michael Bacon in New York City for the past four summers. He is an active educator, teaching theory, composition, and ear training in the Shepherd School of Music Preparatory Program, in addition to scoring student films, documentaries, and online videos. As a jazz pianist, you can find him at jam sessions and venues throughout Houston, Miami and New York.