Simon Morrison is an acclaimed public speaker equally in demand by academic and general audiences. Among his subjects of expertise are the history of ballet in France, Russia, and the United States; the music of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich; politics and culture in the Soviet Union, Russia, France, and the United States; Russian culture under Putin; cultural exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States; imperial culture under the Russian tsars; and current trends in Russian music and dance. 

He is sought after as a pre-concert lecturer, having been lauded at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera in particular. He has spoken extensively on the music of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Debussy, Musorgsky, Beethoven, Poulenc, and many other beloved composers.

Morrison is a favored guest on radio and television programs worldwide, including broadcasts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, the UK, and United States.

Noted Lectures

  • “Poulenc’s House Party,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1 June 2013.

  • “The Composition, Re-Composition, and Re-Composition … of Prokofiev’s War and Peace, U of T/COC Opera Exchange Series, Toronto, ON, 18 October 2008.

  • “Prokofiev’s Gambler,” lecture for The Birch Opera Event, Columbia University, New York, NY, 13 March 2008.

  • Pre-performance lecture on Debussy’s Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, Chaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Unsuk Chin’s Rocana, and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 8 March 2008.

  • Pre-performance lecture on Sviridov’s Small Triptych, Musorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 1 November 2007.

  • “The Denunciation of Lady Macbeth,” U of T/COC Opera Exchange Series, Toronto, ON, 3 February 2007.

  • “Russian Musical Representations of Hamlet,” Lincoln Center, New York, NY, 5 March 2006.

  • Pre-performance lecture on Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 1 February 2005.

  • Pre-performance lecture on Musorgsky’s Destruction of Sennacherib, Rachmaninoff’s The Bells, and Shostakovich’s Execution of Stepan Razin, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, 10 October 2004.

  • “The Progressive 1920s,” Bard College Music Festival, “Shostakovich and His World,” Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, 15 August 2004.

  • “Kirov Opera: Prokofiev’s Semyon Kotko [with Catherine Nepomnyashchy],” Lincoln Center, New York, NY, 9 July 2003.

  • “Chaikovsky’s Miracle,” Princeton University [Alumni Lecture], 22 February 2003; Georgetown University [Wagner Society], Washington, DC, 9 December 2004.

  • “How to Listen to a Movie,” Princeton University [Alumni Lecture], 12 October 2002.

  • “Prokofiev’s The Gambler,” Metropolitan Opera, New York, NY, 15 March 2001.

  • “Fantasy and the Overture: Notes on Chaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet,” Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, 27 January 2001.

  • “Chaikovsky and Byron,” New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Tchaikovsky Festival, 18-21 January 2001.

  • “Carmen” and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” for “Exploring Opera: Performance and Art [Princeton University Alumni College],” Princeton, NJ, 13-16 July 2000.

  • “Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri,” Taplin Auditorium, Princeton, NJ, 25 October 1999.

  • “Open Theater: Conservatism and Eclecticism at the Santa Fe Opera” and “Francis Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmélites” for “Desert Muse: Santa Fe and the Arts [Princeton University Alumni College],” Santa Fe, NM, 12-15 August 1999.


Select Interviews

  • The New York Times, January 23, 2018

  • NPR’s “Here and Now” show, January 2017

  • CBC The Current, 26 December 2016

  • BBC Radio 4 Start of Week, 12 December 2016

  • NPR Marketplace, 27 October 2016

  • WNYC Radio, 10 May 2013 (on Lina Prokofiev).

  • BBC Radio 3 (London), 21 April 2013 (on Lina Prokofiev).

  • BBC World News (London), 21 April 2013 (on Lina Prokofiev).

  • DR P2 (Copenhagen), 19 April 2012, broadcast on 21 April (program on Shostakovich).

  • Cornell University Chronicle Online, 15 March 2011 (on Romeo and Juliet).

  • BBC Radio 3 (Belfast), 3 August 2010, broadcast on 21 August (program on Scriabin).

  • WFMT Radio (Chicago), 12 April 2010.

  • Newsweek, 31 July 2009, article posted 13 August (on “hold” music).

  • Telekanal Zvezda (Moscow), 10 June 2009 (program on Prokofiev).

  • BBC Radio 3 (Cardiff), 10 August 2007, broadcast on 9 October.

  • Princeton Alumni Weekly, 20 July 2007, article published 26 September (on Prokofiev).

  • BBC World Service, 11 April 2007, broadcast on 14 April.

  • WNYC Radio’s “Soundcheck,” 20 August 2004 (program on Shostakovich).

  • BBC Radio 3 (Cardiff), 3 July 2003, broadcast on 3 August.

  • Princeton Weekly Bulletin, 19 June 2003, article published 4 August (on Le Pas d’Acier).