GERARD MORRIS joined the University of Puget Sound School of Music faculty in fall 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Western Michigan University, a Master of Music Education degree from University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Doctor of Music degree in conducting from Northwestern University. His primary conducting teachers include Allan McMurray (University of Colorado) and Mallory Thompson (Northwestern University).
Morris serves as winds and percussion department chair and conducts the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, and both the opera and musical theatre orchestras. In addition, he teaches courses in conducting and music education, and coaches chamber ensembles performing wind repertory. In 2016 he was the recipient of the President's Award for Teaching Excellence.
With passion for new music, Morris has commissioned wind compositions by Michael Colgrass, Carter Pann, Daniel Kellogg, Andrew Ardizzoia, and Puget Sound student composers. Under his direction and leadership, the Puget Sound Wind Ensemble has performed World Premieres of Das Bach Book (Carter Pann) and Glass House Concerto for Percussion and Wind Ensemble (Andrew Ardizzoia), as well as the North American Premiere of Argentinian composer Alejandro Rutty’s A Future of Tango.
Morris’s professional conducting credits include appearances at The Midwest Clinic, Colorado Music Festival at Chautauqua, and Steamboat Strings Music in the Mountains Summer Music Festival. He has conducted the Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Octava Chamber Orchestra, Chicago’s Sonic Inertia Performance Group, Tacoma Concert Band, Puget Brass, Boulder Brass, Illinois Brass Band, and Northwestern University's Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, and Saxophone Ensemble. In the summer of 2009 he was a clinician for Northwestern University Conducting and Wind Music Symposium, in 2011 was an invited guest lecturer at University of North Carolina at Greensboro New Music Festival, and in the fall of 2013 appeared as guest artist in residence at Iowa State University, where he conducted the World Premiere of Neil Thornock’s Lurgy.
Dedicated to public school music education, Morris has extensive experience teaching junior and senior high school in Michigan and Colorado. His success has earned both national and international invitations to appear as a guest conductor and clinician for numerous public schools, honor ensembles, and festivals throughout Michigan, Hawai’i, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, Montana, Washington, and Canada. In service to his passion as a conductor and teacher, Morris hosts the Puget Sound Conductors Institute; an annual four-day workshop bringing together public school music teachers to hone conducting technique, deepen pedagogical knowledge, and strengthen professional relationships within the community. In addition, he currently serves as conductor of the Puget Sound Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE). With this organization he co-developed the PSYWE Teachers Workshop; a one-day event designed specifically for K-12 public school music teachers.
Morris's conducting and teaching are informed by years of professional performing experience as principal euphonium with Boulder Brass and United States Marine Corps Band, Hawai’i. With these organizations he toured the United States, Australia, and Costa Rica as both an ensemble member and soloist.