The University of Iowa
Conversations with Mark Morris: Peter Sellars
Beowulf Sheehan, Ruth Walz
Online Event

Mark Morris in conversation with Peter Sellars, director

Moderated by journalist Paula Zahn

Presented by
Free admission – donations appreciated
Thursday, March 4, 2021, 7:30 pm

Part of the Conversations with Mark Morris series

Journalist Paula Zahn will moderate a live conversation with acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris and director Peter Sellars.

Audience members will have the opportunity to write questions in the chat function on the Vimeo page throughout the duration of the event.  The questions will be relayed to Paula Zahn for her to ask the panelists during the question and answer portion at the end of the event.  

How to watch the conversation

Mark Morris, praised as “the most successful and influential choreographer alive, and indisputably the most musical” (The New York Times), was born in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980 and has since created over 150 works for the company. From 1988 to 1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is also an acclaimed ballet choreographer, with twenty-two works commissioned by ballet companies worldwide. Noted for his musicality, Morris has been described as “undeviating in his devotion to music” (The New Yorker). He was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 and has received eleven honorary doctorates to date. He has taught at the University of Washington, Princeton University, and Tanglewood Music Center. Morris opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, New York, in 2001 to provide a home for his company, subsidized rental space for local artists, community education programs for children and seniors, and a school offering dance classes to students of all ages and levels of experience with and without disabilities.

Peter Sellars is an opera, theater and festival director who has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of classics, advocacy of 20th century and contemporary music, and collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. His works explore issues that connect the contemporary and the timeless, with an understanding of art’s power as a means of social action and moral expression. His many notable productions include his creations with composer John Adams, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and, most recently, The Girls of the Golden West. Sellars has led several major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Arts Festival. In 2006 he was Artistic Director of New Crowned Hope, a festival in Vienna, Austria for which he invited artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new work in the fields of music, theater, dance, film, the visual arts and architecture. He is a distinguished professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures and the director of the Boethius Initiative at UCLA, a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival, and was a mentor for the Rolex Arts Initiative. His many awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, the Polar Music Prize, and the designation of "Artist of the Year" by Musical America. Sellars is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Nine-time Emmy award-winning journalist Paula Zahn is the executive producer and host of Investigation Discovery’s On the Case with Paula Zahn and host of WNET's weekly arts and culture multi-platform showcase, NYC-Arts. On The Case is one of the longest running investigative crime series on ID. Zahn began her journalism career in local news, working for stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Diego, Houston, Boston and Los Angeles. She was first introduced to national audiences as an anchor for the news segments on ABC News’ Good Morning America. She went on to host shows for CBS News, Fox News and CNN. Zahn's many years of reporting have not only won her the public's trust, but many prestigious honors, including six Gracie Awards, two National Headliner Awards, and recognition of her career reportage from the Museum of Television and Radio. Zahn has also been recognized by The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness among others, for her indefatigable work in raising awareness of cancer prevention and treatments. An accomplished cellist, Zahn attended college on a cello scholarship. She has performed with renowned musicians in world class venues including with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Sejong Soloists at Hoam Art Hall in Seoul and with Maestro Rostropovich in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the 100- cello orchestra he conducted. Zahn is a member of the WNET Board of Trustees and on the Board of Governors of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Paris Young in advance at (319) 467-4849 or at