Published March 11, 2004
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit will mark the 60th anniversary of its founding on Sunday, March 21, with an 11 a.m. Mass concelebrated by Archbishop John F. Donoghue and the priests of the archdiocese and a 3 p.m. concert by organist Richard Morris, one in a series of concerts sponsored by the monastery to commemorate its anniversary. The Mass and the concert are open to the public.
Morris is one of a small number of organists to have appeared as soloist in Carnegie Hall. He has also appeared three times on NBC’s “Today Show” and has performed on four occasions at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., including the special concert series celebrating the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter. He is head of the Organ Department at Clayton College & State University, and is the Organist-in-Residence at Spivey Hall. In November of 1992 and August of 1996, Morris performed live broadcasts on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” on the Ruffatti organ in Spivey Hall. He has recorded for Klavier Records, New World Records, Crystal Clear Records (direct-to-disc with the Atlanta Symphony Brass and Percussion Ensemble), T&F Records, Gothic Records and R&R Records.
Morris began his performing career in his native Atlanta at the age of 12 as piano soloist with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto at the Fox Theatre before an audience of 5,000 people, and was twice soloist in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Concerts during his high school years. He received a bachelor’s degree in piano at Rollins College. Grants from the French government enabled him to study in France with the late Nadia Boulanger. Following his studies in France, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Academy of Music in Vienna as a pupil of Richard Hauser.
Upon his return to this country in 1965, he earned the degree of master of divinity from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin and spent several years in the parish ministry.
He began his career as a concert organist in 1973, largely through the influence and encouragement of the late Emilie Spivey and Virgil Fox, with whom he coached repertory. For 25 years, Morris has performed an average of 50 concerts a season for Columbia Artists and the Community Concert Associations of the United States and Canada, as well as for national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, and as a soloist with orchestras throughout the country.
Morris served as consultant on the tonal design of Spivey Hall’s Albert Schweitzer memorial organ. He is organist/choirmaster at St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Marietta.