Craig Morris has been composing music since the age of 11. He studied composition with Shirley Bloom, Kevin Scott, and Joelle Wallach and also studied violin, piano, and voice. He played violin with the Bronx Symphony Orchestra for many years and presently plays with the Ridgewood Symphony. He has sung professionally as a cantor for over 40 years. His music has been performed by the Ridgewood Symphony, the Bronx Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fifth International Music Festival of Buenos Aires, and the Chamber Music Society of Formosa. His compositions include piano sonatas, orchestral suites, violin, cello and clarinet concerti, a concert duet for soprano and tenor, choral compositions, and a sacred service for the Sabbath. Arise My Love and The Rubaiyat were chosen as finalists in the 2010 Meistersingers Choral Competition. 

Morris’s album DREAMS, consisting of chamber music for piano, violin, and cello, was released by Ravello Records in 2011 to critical acclaim. His music has been hailed as “extremely intelligent, complex and powerful” by Daniel Shaw, artistic director of the Composer’s Choir, and “beautiful, lively and moving” by Jennifer Whiting, conductor of the DeKalb Festival Chorus. Gapplegate Classical Reviews commented “There are times when music may not be ultra-advanced categorically yet be so captivating that one doesn’t care. The composer Craig Madden Morris and his chamber music on the album DREAMS gives us such a time. There is lyricism, formal heft, beautifully played parts and an idiomatic craftsmanship/inspiration that makes it all a joy to hear.”

His orchestral overture Lullaby was selected as a winner in the international Ablaze Records Orchestral Masters Competition and was released in 2013. One critic described it as “fetchingly beautiful, redolent of Bernstein and Copland, and driven with a sure melodic and harmonic hand, this deeply American score paints a lovely and melodic world that is very effectively orchestrated and effectively captivating despite its brevity.” His Benjamin Overture was recorded by the West Point Band, and premiered by the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band in 2013. His Violin Concerto was premiered by the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra in 2014, with Francisc Restesan, soloist. It was released by Navona Records, and Audiophile Audition described it as “a lovely work that has a decidedly ‘Americana’ feel to it and each movement echoes some aspect of folk material or countryside living. I was especially taken with the Barber-esque second movement, Breezes.” The Kathodik Review stated “the very beautiful Concerto for Violin is dominated by a lyrical vein almost uncontainable. It excels in sustaining lyrical lines which seem never to end, crossing passages which are sometimes meditative, and other times exhilarating and exhibitionistic.” His string and percussion suite A Child’s Day was reviewed by Gapplegate: “evoking in three movements vivid tapestries that show a child’s tender ability to experience all as if anew every day. This is charming music, immediately communicative, but not in any simplistic manner.” His Songs of the Seasons was reviewed by Gramophone Magazine as “an engaging suite.” 

Morris was commissioned by the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra to compose a companion piece to Elgar’s Enigma Variations, The Enigma Fantasy, which premiered in 2017. His most recent CD, CHAMBER MUSIC FOR OUR TIMES, was released in 2020 and was reviewed by the American Record Guide: “His Romance for Violin and Piano is tinted with sensitive, fragile seconds in the piano and soaring, truly romantic lines in the violin that never go quite where one expects. Piano Quartet 1 was inspired by Brahms and Dvorak. Yet these immensely lush harmonies, rich and abundant, feel somehow at liberty in a way that similar creations by Brahms and Dvorak can’t. It’s an original take on tradition and is aural beauty at 100 proof.” Take Effect Reviews stated “Colors follows with gorgeous string manipulation that unfolds over four movements where a pair of violins, a cello and viola blur together with sublime beauty.”

Morris is a child psychiatrist and a former assistant professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A native New Yorker, he lives in New City NY with his wife, Nancy. Their children and grandchildren live in Massachusetts.

Albums

Kaleidoscope

Release Date: February 3, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6494
21st Century
Chamber
Orchestral
Orchestra
Piano
String Quartet
Life can sometimes seem like an infinity mirror of colors reflecting off of themselves, each tint deeply distinct in its own right, yet profoundly beautiful when viewed as a whole. This sentiment is thoughtfully expressed in KALEIDOSCOPE from composer Craig Morris and Navona Records. Morris’s compositional strengths are far-reaching and dynamic, and aptly showcased here with orchestral and chamber works written in a variety of orchestrations. Sentiments of gentle reflections, care and acceptance, and love are echoed throughout this release, a cohesive collection of works written from powerful emotions that tie into the kaleidoscope that is the human experience.

Chamber Music for Our Times

Release Date: September 25, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6310
21st Century
Chamber
Piano
String Quartet
Violin
New from Navona Records and Craig Morris comes CHAMBER MUSIC FOR OUR TIMES, a stirring album of original chamber works. Following DREAMS, which was released in 2011 to critical acclaim, CHAMBER MUSIC FOR OUR TIMES is the work of a master craftsman with an ear for poignant lyricism. The album features four pieces, each of which exhaustively explores the colors and timbres available to the chamber ensembles.

Prisma Vol. 3

Release Date: February 14, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6271
21st Century
Orchestral
Clarinet
Orchestra
Navona Records’ exhilarating PRISMA VOL. 3 unveils the diverse faces of contemporary orchestral music. Featuring the works of seven composers, PRISMA VOL. 3 follows up the success of the first two PRISMA installments with symphonic music that is both innovative and deeply alluring.

Fleeting Realms

Release Date: September 8, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6107
21st Century
Chamber
Percussion
Piano
Saxophone
FLEETING REALMS is an inviting compilation of chamber music featuring six composers. Though the album obviously mixes different compositional voices, the different pieces share many characteristics. FLEETING REALMS is defined by a pervasive uplifting quality. Many of the album’s works feature driving rhythms and a joyfully relaxed sensibility. Even dissonance is used playfully or as a counter weight to beautiful lyricism. Such consistency in manner across six pieces by six diverse composers is obviously remarkable, and it makes FLEETING REALMS a very special musical collection.

Passage

Release Date: May 12, 2017
Catalog Number: NV6094
21st Century
Orchestral
Orchestra
Though “passage” is a word of numerous meanings, they all point back to a singular idea – the transition between two disparate entities. Whether it’s a passage of prose which moves along a narrative, a physical passageway connecting two points, or the continuous passing of time, all these snapshots help define our crucial moments within life’s movements. This theme threads the works on PASSAGE, the latest orchestral compilation from Navona featuring compositions from Sergio Cervetti, Daniel Crozier, Craig Morris, and Betty Wishart.

Fresh Dimensions

Release Date: February 12, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6026
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestral
Orchestra
Violin
The modern romanticism of composer Craig Morris is one simultaneously deeply personal and broadly meaningful. His albums DREAMS (2011) and CIRCLE OF LOVE (2015), both on the Ravello Records label, in large part deal directly with musical representations of universal emotional states and concepts.