Increasingly, Mark Morris is the choreographer of choice in the world of classical music presenting. Once the bad boy of modern dance, today he calls himself "a musician, in the form of a choreographer," and his Dance Group's program at the Mostly Mozart Festival (Aug. 18-20) is characteristic of his tastes: On tap is Renard, a new work set to Stravinsky’s Renard, Festival Dance (2011), set to a Hummel Piano Trio and Socrates (2010), set to Satie’s Socrate. "I've always been drawn to Baroque music, early Classical music and basically modernist music from the 20th century," he explained.
Morris, who also remains busy these days as an opera director, said he is less interested in choreographing 19th century music, which is too programmatic. "Not just ballet scores but something like [Strauss's] Ein Heldenleben where every second of the plot is planned out. It's like 'what do you need to do a dance for?'" Nevertheless, a little Tchaikovsky seeps onto his Top Five list:
Mark Morris's Top Five
1. Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty
2. Stravinsky: Les Noces
3. Bartok: The Wooden Prince
4. Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet
5. Ravel: La Valse