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Mark Morris

Michael Berkeley’s guest is American choreographer Mark Morris. With music by Scarlatti, Handel and Lou Harrison.

Over the last 40 years, Mark Morris has established a reputation as the most musical of choreographers. Inspired by both baroque and twentieth-century music, he’s most famously choreographed Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” – he danced both Dido and the sorceress himself - and his witty version of The Nutcracker, “The Hard Nut”, has been so popular that it’s been staged every year for almost 30 years. Mark Morris has worked in opera too, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, the English National Opera and The Royal Opera, among others. He tours extensively but home is the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, which runs outreach programmes into the local New York community. He’s received numerous awards, including the Leonard Bernstein Award for the Elevation of Music in Society.

In a humorous and revealing interview, Mark Morris looks back on his childhood in Seattle and his childhood passion for music and dance. It wasn’t very socially acceptable for a boy to become a dancer: “If you were in dance, you were a sissy. But I also was a sissy so what’s the problem?” He talks too about losing many friends to AIDS, and fearing that his own time was limited, a pressure that created a manic burst of creative energy.

Music choices include Germaine Tailleferre, a French composer from the twenties whom he believes is unjustly neglected; Scarlatti; Handel; Lou Harrison; and Erik Satie.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Available now

32 minutes

Last on

Sun 17 Mar 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Germaine Tailleferre


    Performer: Marc Clinton. Performer: Nicole Narboni.
  • Lou Harrison

    Largo Ostinato

    Performer: Linda Birman-Hall.
  • Lou Harrison

    Symphony No.3 (4th mvt: Largo Ostinato)

    Orchestra: Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra. Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Beato in ver chi puo (Italian Duet no.18, HWV.181)

    Singer: Mária Zádori. Singer: Paul Esswood.
  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in G major, Kk2

    Performer: Vojtech Spurny.
  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in G major, Kk391

    Performer: Michelangelo Carbonara.
  • Domenico Scarlatti

    Sonata in A major, Kk208

    Performer: Alexandre Tharaud.
  • Erik Satie

    Perpetual Tango (Sports et Divertissements)

    Performer: Jean‐Yves Thibaudet.


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