Dr. Quinton Morris is an inspiration. Barely into his 40’s, one would wonder what more there is for someone who has achieved as much as Quinton has? Morris would probably answer, “wherever there is a need, there is more to do!”
His story is one about drive, determination, overcoming, leading, passion, and an attitude that will not allow him to sit idle. I met Quinton when he was sixteen years old. I was in attendance when he took home the NAACP arts competition top award. His command of the violin was a sight to see and hear, especially as a young African American male. You could tell that this young man was going places. A few years later, on one of his trips home from college, Quinton visited with me and shared his aspirations. I was blown away by his vision for his future, his love for the canon of classical music created by Black composers, and ultimately, his desire to be of service.
In the years since the time I first laid eyes on this young master, Quinton has exhausted his music education and holds a PhD in Violin Performance. He developed the chamber music program at Seattle University and insisted that his students have a full complement of business classes, urging that they should regard their art as their business. A tenured Seattle University Professor, Morris is only the second living African American violinist to hold this status. His world tour, BREAKTHROUGH, took him to 22 cities on 5 continents, and incorporated his self-produced short film based on the life and music of Chevalier de Saint-Georges. The documentary film, The Breakthrough, took first place at the European Independent Film Award Festival in Paris, the bronze award at the Global Music Awards and was premiered at New York Film Week and Las Vegas Lift-Off Film Festivals. He has also played at least 2 sold out performances at Carnegie Hall.
Never resting on his laurels or already earned accolades, in 2017 Morris established Key to Change, a non-profit organization developed to reach young people through music and education by providing violin lessons. His target area is South King County, a highly diverse area with very few outlets for music training, particularly violin. The need for and interest in the services provided by Key To Change is evident in its 50% growth year over year since its inception.
My admiration for, and friendship with Dr. Quinton Morris endures, and I am delighted to invite readers to tune in to Classical KING FM 98.1 as Morris begins his tenure as the first Artist-Scholar-in-Residence! Dr. Morris will be creating radio programs and podcasts for national distribution, featuring BIPOC composers and performers, called Unmute the Voices. The first episode airs June 19th at 3pm. Just a little something he has time to fit in between his professional life and his volunteer leadership as Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission.