J. David Morris
Office 192 B Fine Arts
Dr. David Morris has been a member of the Music Faculty at Valdosta State University since 1985, where he also served as Head of the Department of Music, Assistant Dean of the College of the Arts, and Area Chair for Percussion. As Head of the Department of Music, Morris oversaw and was responsible for an expansion in the number of music faculty, students, and resources over a five year period that led to expanded offerings and programs in music at the undergraduate and graduate levels including the founding of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, the VSU Steel Drum Band and the VSU Faculty Jazz Quintet, where he served as the group's first drummer. As Assistant Dean, Morris served as General Manager of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra in its formative years and presently continues to serve as the orchestra's Principal Timpanist.
Dr. Morris holds the Ph. D. in applied percussion, music theory, and music literature from Michigan State University, the Master of Music in Percussion Performance from East Carolina University, and the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His percussion teachers include F. Michael Combs, Harold Jones, Mark Johnson, Salvatore Rabbio(Detroit Symphony), Mark Yancich (Atlanta Symphony), Jim Atwood (New Orleans Philharmonic), and Cloyd Duff (Cleveland Orchestra). His composition teachers include Jere Hutcheson and Charles Ruggerio and has studied counterpoint and composition with David Van Vactor, who was a student of Paul Dukas and Arnold Schoenberg.
Before coming to VSU, Dr. Morris served as an Associate Professor of Music on the faculty of Limestone College, was an instructor of music at Michigan State University, on the faculty of the Governor's School of North Carolina, and on the faculty of the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. Dr. Morris has also taught percussion and music theory for the Governor's Honors Program of Georgia, hosted at Valdosta State University and has served as the music director for the Summer Musical Theatre Festival on Jeykll Island.
A well-known and busy timpanist throughout the Southeast, Dr. Morris is currently Principal Timpanist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Macon Symphony Orchestra, and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. He has recently been a concerto soloist with the Macon, Albany, and Ocala Symphony orchestras as well as the VSU Wind Ensemble. Most notably, Morris and Atlanta Symphony Timpanist Mark Yancich were featured soloists with both the Albany and Macon Symphony Orchestras in the "Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra" by Philip Glass. Dr. Morris has held principal timpani positions with the Asheville Symphony, the Lansing Symphony and has substituted as timpanist with the Atlanta Ballet. He currently also performs as a substitute timpanist and has recorded with the Grammy-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and chorus and has performed as a percussionist in orchestras in Charlotte, North Carolina, Savannah, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge. Internationally, Morris has performed the Bartok Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion and two solo timpani works by Elliott Carter to great public acclaim in Romania. As a composer, Morris' works for percussion are published by Permus Press and University Microfilms. Morris has served as the Vice-President and Newsletter editor for the Georgia Chapter of Percussive Arts Society and has had articles published in Percussive Notes. Morris has been active in regional orchestral contract negotiations and has served on orchestra committees and Collective Bargaining Agreement committees for several regional orchestras. He is a member of Locals 447-704(Savannah) and 148-462 (Atlanta)of the American Federation of Musicians.
A family of teachers and performers, Nancy, his wife, is a music specialist at SL Mason Elementary School and VSU Master of Music Education alumnus, his son Andrew, graduate with a Bachelors and Masters degree in music education from VSU, and his daughter, Rebecca, an active performer as a theatre major at VSU.