Mark Morris has been hailed as the “the most prodigiously gifted choreographer of the post-Balanchine era” (Time). Since founding MMDG in 1980, Morris has created over 150 works, including 20 ballets, and 20 operas. He has been described as “an innovator and a conservative, a satirist and a romantic” (New Yorker) who “easily ranks among the top five American choreographers… and has already carved a major place for himself in the history of modern dance” (The Denver Post). Renowned as an intensely musical choreographer, Morris is undeviating in his devotion to music. He has conducted performances for MMDG since 2006, served as music director of the 2013 Ojai Music Festival, and continues to work extensively in opera, directing and choreographing at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others. Morris was named Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, and has received twelve honorary doctorates to date. In recent years, he has received 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 International Society for the Performing Artists' Distinguished Artist Award, the Benjamin Franklin Laureate Prize for Creativity, the Cal Performances Award of Distinction in the Performing Arts, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music Award.
Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932 and evacuated during the war to the United States, where he lived on Long Island from 1940 to 1943. He studied at the Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham. In 1984, he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and won the Turner Prize the following year. He was knighted in 1992 and made a Companion of Honour in 2003. An exhibition of his Paintings 1975-1995, organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, opened in 1995 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and toured to museums in Fort Worth and Düsseldorf, and to London’s Hayward Gallery. A retrospective opened at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in Spring 2006. It traveled to London’s Tate Britain and then to El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. Sir Hodgkin first worked in the theater in 1981, when he designed the set and costumes for Richard Alston’s Night Music with the Ballet Rambert. They later collaborated on Pulcinella, which was filmed by the BBC and released on DVD. For the Mark Morris Dance Group, he designed for Rhymes with Silver (1997), Kolam (2002), and Mozart Dances (2006). Sir Hodgkin is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
Hodgkin has been passionate about Indian culture, geography, and history for most of his life. Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum featured an exhibition of Hodgkin’s own work along with mughal miniature paintings from his personal collection in 2015. He is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
James F. Ingalls has designed several pieces for Mark Morris including Orfeo ed Euridice (Metropolitan Opera); King Arthur (English National Opera); Sylvia, Sandpaper Ballet, Maelstrom, and Pacific (San Francisco Ballet); Platée (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and New York City Opera); Mozart Dances, Romeo and Juliet: On Motifs of Shakespeare, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and Dido and Aeneas (MMDG).
Recent designs for dance include The Nutcracker (Pacific Northwest Ballet/Seattle), Twyla Tharp’s 50th Anniversary Tour (US and NY State Theatre), The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky (Teatro alla Scala Ballet and ABT), Celts, choreographed by Lila York (Boston Ballet), Sea Lark and Death and the Maiden (Paul Taylor Dance Company).
Recent theatre work includes Desdemona, directed by Peter Sellars (UCLA/CAP, Melbourne and Sydney Festivals), DruidShakespeare, directed by Garry Hynes (Galway, Irish tour and Lincoln Center Festival).
He often collaborates with Melanie Rios Glaser and The Wooden Floor dancers in Santa Ana, California.
The son of a musical family from Moscow, by way of Israel, violinist and composer Johnny Gandelsman's musical voice reflects the artistic collaborations he has been a part of since moving to the United States in 1995. Through his work with such artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Bono, Osvaldo Golijov, David Byrne, Bela Fleck, Kayhan Kalhor, Suzanne Vega, James Levine, Mark Morris, Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova, Nigel Kennedy and Martin Hayes, Gandelsman has been able to integrate a wide range of creative sensibilities into his own point of view. Combining his Classical training with a desire to reach beyond the boundaries of the concert hall, and a voracious interest in the music of our times, Johnny developed a unique style amongst today's violinists, one that according to the Boston Globe, possesses "a balletic lightness of touch and a sense of whimsy and imagination."
A passionate advocate for new music, Johnny has premiered dozens of works written for Brooklyn Rider and Silk Road Ensemble. In 2012-2013, he premiered works by Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, Vijay Iyer, Bela Fleck, Daniel Cords, Rubin Kodheli, Dana Lyn, Gabriel Kahane, Colin Jacobsen, Shara Worden, John Zorn, Christina Courtin, Ethan Iverson, Padma Newsome, Gregory Saunier, Evan Ziporyn, Bill Frisell and Nik Bartsch, as well as a violin concerto by Gonzalo Grau, commissioned for Johnny by Community Music Works.
As the Washington Post observes, violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene.” A founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights – he is also a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Ensemble and an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning violinist. Jacobsen’s work as a composer developed as a natural outgrowth of his chamber and orchestral collaborations. Jointly inspired by encounters with leading exponents of non-western traditions and by his own classical heritage, his most recent compositions for Brooklyn Rider include “Three Miniatures” – “vivacious, deftly drawn sketches” (New York Times) – which were written for the reopening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Islamic art galleries. Jacobsen collaborated with Iran’s Siamak Aghaei to write a Persian folk-inflected composition, “Ascending Bird,” which he performed as soloist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, in a concert that was streamed live by millions of viewers worldwide. His work for dance and theater includes Chalk and Soot, a collaboration with Dance Heginbotham, and music for Compagnia de’ Colombari’s theatrical production of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.