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Franklin E. Morris

November 6, 1920 ~ December 7, 2018 (age 98)

Franklin E. Morris, American composer and teacher, died December 7, 2018 in Syracuse, NY. Born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in 1920, the son of Frank P. Morris and Clara Greenover Morris, he received a professional education as a chemist, receiving a BS in chemistry from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania in 1941 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1946.

Simultaneously he attended Cape Cod Institute of Music during summers of 1939-41 as a piano major and studied composition at Harvard University with Walter Piston in 1946. He then received a second set of degrees in music at the Yale School of Music: B. Mus. in composition in 1947-48 and an M. Mus. in composition (with Paul Hindemith), 1950-51.

From 1951 through 1985, Morris was Professor of theory and composition at the School of Music at Syracuse University. During each of those years he organized annual recitals of solo and chamber works. He composed and produced opera, "The Postponement" in 1959 and performed his first Symphony in 1961 and Symphony II with the Syracuse Symphony in 1967.

He is best known for having founded and directed the Electronic Studio of the School of Music at Syracuse University from 1966 through 1985, after participating in Robert Moog's first Electronic Music Workshop in Trumansburg, New York. Among his students was Bill Viola. Morris presented many multi-media events combining electronic music with visual and dramatic arts from 1966 through 1976. These events took place at Syracuse University and other colleges throughout the Northeastern United States and at Composers' Forum, the Gate Theatre, The Kitchen and Automation House in NYC. They were also included in four of Charlotte Moorman's Festivals of the Avant Garde in New York City.

Morris in 1976 began a long series of Electronic Symphonies, at first using only analog electronic sounds; as they became available he added sounds from digital keyboards. He completed more than one thousand Electronic Symphonies.

He is survived by a cousin, Peg Trunk, of Pennsylvania.

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