Department of Music

Morris Palter

Associate Professor of Music, Percussion
Fine Arts 115
907-474-1873
mspalter@alaska.edu

Born in Canada, Morris's wide-range of musical interests have found him performing in North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe at some of the most prestigious festivals and concert venues including Disney Hall (Los Angeles), the Soeul Arts Center, Lincoln Center, the Stadsschouwburg Zaal (Amsterdam), IRCAM (Paris), the Quincena Festival (Spain), the Tura New Music Festival (Australia), the Together Now Festival (Holland), the CrossSounds Festival (Alaska), and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Morris is also a frequent guest at universities and conservatories worldwide including the Royal College of Music (London, UK), Stanford University, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, the University of Birmingham, UK, CalArts, and the Oberlin College and Conservatory, and has commissioned and/or premiered over 200 compositions, working with both well established composers and newer compositional voices.

In 2000, Morris co-founded NOISE (San Diego New Music), and was a member of the percussion group redfish bluefish (Artistic Director, Steven Schick) from 1999-2005. Two other important collaborations include the Speak-Easy Duo (with guitarist, Colin McAllister), and Metasax and DRUMthings (with Matthew Burtner). Morris is also actively involved with theatre, having been a composer and performer at both The Old Globe Theatre and the Tony Award winning La Jolla Playhouse.

Morris is the artistic director of Ensemble 64.8 (University of Alaska Fairbanks resident percussion lab). The group performs chamber music with an emphasis on works by noted North American and European composers. Some of the composers represented in the ensemble repertory include Steve Reich, John Cage, Toru Takemitsu, John Wyre, Louis Andreissen, Vinko Globokar, Robin Engelman, Iannis Xenakis, John Luther Adams, Giacinto Scelsi, Bruce Mather, Carlos Chavez, Erik Griswold, and Henry Cowell. The group has also performed concerts with famed performers/composers Matthew Burtner, Anders Astrand, Christopher Adler, and Bob Becker, and traveled to Sweden, New York City, PASIC, Toronto, and Indianapolis for concerts.

Morris was a member of the UAF Faculty Senate from 2009-2011, and is the current chair of the Department of Music graduate committee. Further appointments include artistic director, UAF New Music Festival, and co-artistic director for the soundON Festival of Modern Music held yearly in San Diego. Morris is a member of the Percussive Arts Society New Music/Research Committee and was host of PASIC's Focus Day 2010. He is also published in PAS journal, and Mellen Press, and is currently endorsed by Black Swamp Percussion, and Paiste Cymbals and Gongs. As a Yamaha Performing Artist, Morris can be heard on New World Records, Vienna Modern Masters, Tzadik Records, Mode Records, Innova, RCA/BMG and his solo CD was released on Centaur Records in 2006. Morris earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the Koninklijk Conservatorium, Den Haag, and the University of California, San Diego where he earned both his masters and doctorate of musical arts degrees (2000 and 2005 respectively). Morris was a Lecturer in Music at UCSD during the 2006/07 academic-year and is currently an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Recent faculty engagements include the Alaska Midnight Sun Chamber Percussion Intensive (Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival), the "Roots and Rhizomes" percussion residency program (The Banff Centre), and the Festival Internacional de Musica Erudita de Piracicaba, Brazil. Morris was featured at the Open Ears Festival (May 2012 and 2013), the Toronto Summer Music Festival, and both the University of British Columbia and Toronto's Glenn Gould School (January 2013). Morris also made his Toronto Symphony Orchestra debut this past February 2013 and was a member of the Canadian Opera Company for their production of "Salome" (Director, Atom Egoyan). Future engagements include performing in the opening concert of the 2013 Percussive Arts Society International Conference and the University of Miami. 

Morris was named a 2012 Rasmuson Foundation Artist Fellowship Award Winner and is also an avid mountain biker (winter and summer), competing in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 White Mountains 100 mile winter human-powered race, and the Sluice Box 100 mile summer mountain bike race.

Morris's new double vinyl LP, This Place/Our Body is now availabe. Comprised of solo and chamber percussion works, it features Alaskan composers and members of Ensemble 64.8. Please visit www.morrispalter.org for more information and for ordering. A portion of proceeds from sales goes to supporting Ensemble 64.8 concert touring.