Simon Morrison

Slavic Associate Faculty; Professor, Department of Music
The Department of Music
Email Address:
Office Location: 
210 Woolworth
  • PhD in Music History (Princeton University, 1997)

  • MFA in Music History (Princeton University 1994)

  • MA in Music History (McGill University, 1993)

  • Language Diploma (Moscow Pedagogical Institute, 1992)

  • B. Mus cum laude in Music History and Literature (Un


My research interests include Russian music, French modernism, and dance-music relationships. I have written two books,Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement(University of California Press, 2002) andThe People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years(Oxford University Press, 2008), and I have edited a collection of essays,Prokofiev and His World(Princeton University Press, 2008). I have written journal articles on Prokofiev, Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Scriabin, and several reviews.

Current Project: 

I am at present writing a biography of Lina Prokofiev for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt entitled L while also co-editing a collection of essays on the composer Arthur Lourié for Oxford University Press.

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate Courses 

  •    Music and Film 
  •    Introduction to Music 
  •    Romantic Music 
  •    Modern Music 
  •    Russian Music 
  •    Chaikovsky 
  •    The Artistry of Ballet

Graduate Courses 

  •    The Ballets Russes and the Ballets Suedois 
  •    Music and Film 
  •    Prokofiev and Shostakovich 
  •    The Ontology of Music and Dance

Authored Books: 

The People's Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years
The People's Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

ISBN-10: 0195181670

ISBN-13: 978-0195181678

Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement.
Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement.

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

ISBN-10: 0520229436

ISBN-13: 978-0520229433


Selected Edited Volumes: 

Prokofiev and His World.
Prokofiev and His World.

Ed. Simon Morrison. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Sound Moves, Select Essays from the International Conference on Music and Dance.
Sound Moves, Select Essays from the International Conference on Music and Dance.

Opera Quarterly. Vol. 22, No. 1 (Winter 2006). (coedited with Stephanie Jordan)


Other Projects: 

"Krazy Kat"and "The Toy Box" (2010). 
This student staging featured John Alden Carpenter’s 1921 pantomimeKrazy Kat and Claude Debussy’s 1913La boîte à joujoux(The Toy Box). The latter included an unknown jazz overture preserved at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art.

"Romeo and Juliet" (2008). 
I restored the scenario and score of the original (1935) version of this ballet for the Mark Morris Dance Group. The project involved orchestrating act IV (featuring a happy ending) from Prokofiev’s annotations and rearranging the order and adjusting the content of acts I-III. This version of the ballet was premiered on 4 July 2008 and began an international tour the following September.

"Boris Godunov" (2007) 
This student staging brought together Alexander Pushkin’s 1825 drama and Prokofiev’s 1936 incidental music.

"Le Pas d’Acier" (2005) 
Conceived in 1925 and premiered in 1927 by the Ballets Russes, the ballet was performed at the Berlind Theatre, Princeton University, from April 7-9, 2005. The staging, which I directed in collaboration with Lesley-Anne Sayers and Millicent Hodson, re-imagined Le Pas d’Acier using the source diagrams and sketches for the music, décor, and dance.


Selected Articles: 

"The Cantata for the Twentieth Anniversary of October, or How the Specter of Communism Haunted Prokofiev." 
in Journal of Musicology Vol. 23, No. 2 (2006): 227-262. (with Nelli Kravetz)

"Russia's Lament." 
in Word, Music, History: A Festschrift for Caryl Emerson. Eds. Lazar Fleishman, Gabriella Safran, and Michael Wachtel. Stanford Slavic Studies, 2005. 657-81.

"Shostakovich as Industrial Saboteur: Observations on The Bolt." 
in Shostakovich and His World. Ed. Laurel Fay. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004. 117-61.

"The Origins of Daphnis et Chloé (1912)." 
in 19th-Century Music Vol. 28, No. 1 (Summer 2004): 50-76.

"Prokofiev's Le Pas d'Acier (1925): How the Steel was Tempered." 
in Soviet Music and Society under Lenin and Stalin: The Baton and Sickle. Ed. Neil Edmunds. London: Routledge, 2004. 81-104. (with Lesley-Anne Sayers)

"The Semiotics of Symmetry, or Rimsky-Korsakovis Operatic History Lesson." 
in Cambridge Opera Journal Vol. 13, No. 3 (November 2001): 261-93.

"Ognennyi angel: tret'ya versiya". 
in Muzykal'naya akademiya. Vol. 2 (2000): 221-28.

"Skryabin and the Impossible." 
in Journal of the American Musicological Society. Vol. 51, No. 2 (Summer 1998): 283-330; reprinted in Journal of the Scriabin Society of America. Vol. 7, No. 1 (Winter 2002-03): 29-66.

"Sergei Prokofiev's Semyon Kotko as a Representative Example of Socialist Realism." 
in Musik als Text: Bericht über den Internationalen Musikwissenschaftlichen Kongreß der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung. Eds. Hermann Danuser and Tobias Plebuch. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1998. Vol. 2: 494-97.