Thomas Morris

Thomas W. Morris is recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in the orchestra industry. He served as the longtime chief executive of both the Cleveland Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is active nationally and internationally as a consultant, lecturer, teacher and writer.

In 2004 Mr. Morris was appointed Artistic Director of the Ojai Music Festival, a relationship that was recently extended through 2014. As Artistic Director of the Festival, now in its 66th season, Mr. Morris is responsible for artistic planning, and each year appoints a Music Director with whom he collaborates to shape the Festival’s programming. Recent Music Directors have included Dawn Upshaw, Kent Nagano, Oliver Knussen, Robert Spano, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, David Robertson, George Benjamin and eighth blackbird.

As Executive Director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1987 to 2004, Mr. Morris oversaw 10 tours to Europe; four tours to East Asia; recordings on the London/Decca, Telarc International, and Teldec labels; the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebration; the renovation, expansion, and restoration of Severance Hall; the renovation, upgrading, and transformation of the Blossom Music Center into a state-of-the-art summer concert venue; and the 2002 transition from Music Director Christoph von Dohnányi to Franz Welser-Möst. He also helped establish free community concerts and a comprehensive education program.

With the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Morris served in a number of capacities from 1969 to 1985 and in 1978 was named to the newly created position of General Manager, assuming overall executive responsibility for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Symphony Hall, and Tanglewood.

Since 1985, Mr. Morris has been active as a consultant, and has worked internationally with such institutions as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, De Nederlandse Opera, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and in the United States with Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Millenium Park, the Kansas City Symphony, the Music Academy of the West, the New World Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Utah Symphony & Opera and the Washington National Symphony, among others. Mr. Morris serves as chair of the board of overseers of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the board of directors of the American Music Center, the board of directors of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and is an active teacher, leading seminars for the Orchestra Leadership Academy of the American Symphony Orchestra League. He was chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Orchestra Panel in 1979.

With Mary Lou Falcone and David Foster, Mr. Morris founded Spring for Music, a new orchestra festival, to be held each May at Carnegie Hall that was launched in 2011. A native of Rochester, New York, Mr. Morris studied at the Eastman School of Music, and holds a BA degree from Princeton University and MBA from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. He is an accomplished percussionist and performs in the Blossom Festival Band and Orchestra.

Thomas Morris will be a panelist at our October, 2012 symposium: Information, Space and Time: The Arts, Creativity and Learning in the 21st Century.