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DEXTER MORRILL  

(b 1938 )

Dexter Morrill was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. At the age of eight he began trumpet lessons with Peter Fogg and later studied with Irwin Shainman at Williams College. He entered Colgate University in 1956 and studied composition with William Skelton, and attended the first Lenox School of Jazz in 1957, having trumpet lessons with Dizzy Gillespie and arranging with William Russo. In 1960 Morrill began graduate studies at Stanford University and studied composition with Leonard Ratner and orchestration with Leland Smith. During 1962–4 he was a Ford Foundation Young Composer Fellow in University City, Missouri, and later taught at St John’s University in New York, which commissioned his Three Lyric Pieces for Violin, premièred by Ruggiero Ricci at Lincoln Center in 1969. Morrill studied composition with Robert Palmer in the late 1960s at Cornell, and wrote his dissertation on Darius Milhaud’s early polytonal music. Morrill returned to teach music at Colgate in 1969 and, in the early 1970s, established one of the first mainframe computer studios in the world, with help from colleagues at Stanford University. He returned to Stanford often to study computer music with John Chowning and Leland Smith, and spent a part of his time doing research on the analysis/synthesis of trumpet tones. Morrill is currently Professor Emeritus at Colgate. His computer music compositions have received performances in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Great Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic and most Western European countries, by the Tarr Brass Ensemble, the Syracuse and Baltimore Symphonies, Lambert Orkis, David Hickman and others. Morrill was a Guest Researcher at IRCAM in 1980, a Visiting Professor of Music at SUNY Binghamton and Stanford Universities, and has received several composition grants from the New York State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also worked on special jazz projects for Stan Getz and Wynton Marsalis, and is the author of A Guide to the Big Band Recordings of Woody Herman published by the Greenwood Press. After 1976 Morrill began producing computer music concerts with soprano Neva Pilgrim under the name of Singing Circuits. In the late 1980s he developed a MIDI trumpet instrument with engineer Perry Cook, and he performed on many concerts with cellist Chris Chafe, saxophonist David Demsey and soprano Pamela Jordan. Both Demsey and Jordan recorded complete solo discs of Morrill’s computer music compositions for the Centaur label. Recently Morrill has composed music for violinist Laura Klugherz and pianist Jill Timmons, the Tremont String Quartet, trumpeter Mark Ponzo, saxophonist Stephen Duke, trombonists Jim Pugh and Bill Harris and the Syracuse Symphony.

© Tim Ruedeman

Role: Classical Composer 
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