Mark Morris Salutes Lou Harrison at Tanglewood

Grand Duo (photo Erin Baiano)

(LENOX, Mass.) – The Mark Morris Dance Group pays tribute to the late visionary composer Lou Harrison in Lou 100: In Honor of the Divine Mr. Harrison, an entire Lou Harrison (1917-2003) program performed in Ozawa Hall with the Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center on Wednesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 29, at 8pm.

The program features the world premiere of Mark Morris’s Numerator, plus Pacific, Serenade, and Grand Duo,

“Lou was a friend, and his music has been a decades-long inspiration to me as a choreographer,” says Morris. “I’ve made up dances to many of his scores and there exist many more that are varied, extravagant, and irresistible. Lou said, ‘Music is a Song and a Dance.’ Not only do I agree, but he was absolutely right. I gratefully and humbly celebrate his centenary.”

Created in honor of Harrison’s centenary (celebrated May 14 around the world), Numerator is set to Harrison’s Varied Trio for violin, piano, and percussion and is danced by six men in muted jewel-tone costumes designed by Elizabeth Kurtzman.

The evening includes the radiant Pacific, set to the third and fourth movements of Harrison’s Trio for violin, cello, and piano and praised by the New York Times: “Mr. Morris’s melding of music and movement is utterly lucid – not because of the harmony he creates, but because he allows the forms to be heard and seen in pure and equal ways.” Pacific’s flowing costumes are by the late, multiple Tony Award-winning designer Martin Pakledinaz. Originally choreographed for San Francisco Ballet (1995), it was set on the Dance Group in 2015.

Serenade, set to Serenade for Guitar, premiered in 2003, the year of Harrison’s death. With costume designed by Isaac Mizrahi, it was the last solo Morris originally choreographed for himself. As he said of the score, “It is so tender and finely webbed, so all over the world, that I realized it could be the basis of a new kind of dance.” Acoustic guitar and percussion will share the Seiji Ozawa Hall’s stage with the soloist dancer.

Grand Duo (photo Erin Baiano)

The rousing audience and critical favorite Grand Duo, set to Harrison’s Grand Duo for violin and piano closes the evening. Of the dance, the Boston Globe says, “…one of the most viscerally charged passages in the annals of modern dance.” “Lou Harrison adored Mark Morris and his superb musicality.  It is thrilling that MMDG will present a substantial program in honor of Lou’s 100th birthday and continues to be an important champion of his legacy,” says Eva Soltes, Director, Harrison House Music, Arts & Ecology, the organization leading the Harrison centenary celebrations. This year marks the Dance Group’s 12th season at Tanglewood, and its ninth world premiere on the Seiji Ozawa stage.

Mark Morris has been hailed as the “the most successful and influential choreographer alive, and indisputably the most musical” (New York Times). In addition to creating over 150 works for the Mark Morris Dance Group, he conducts orchestras, directs opera, and choreographs for ballet companies worldwide.  Morris’ work is acclaimed for its ingenuity, musicality, wit, and humanity. Named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991, he has received eleven honorary doctorates to date, and a multitude of awards, including the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society, the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity, the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music Award, and the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award. In 2015, Morris was inducted to the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Formed in 1980, Mark Morris’ internationally-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has received “highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity.” (Bloomberg News). Live music and community engagement are vital components of the Dance Group. It has toured with its own musicians, the MMDG Music Ensemble, since 1996, and regularly collaborates with orchestras and opera companies around the world. MMDG’s film and television projects include Dido and Aeneas, The Hard Nut, Falling Down Stairs, the U.K.’s South Bank Show, and Live from Lincoln Center. In 2015 Morris’ signature work L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato premiered on PBS’ Great Performances. The Mark Morris Dance Center was opened in 2001 to provide a home for the dance group, rehearsal space for the dance community, programs for local children and seniors, and dance classes for students of all ages and abilities.




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