Headshot of Hugh Morris, the writer

Headshot of Hugh Morris, the writerI’m a freelance writer, editor and musician based in London. My main beat is music, but I’ve written on topics including the British TikTok beef that turned into a lucrative boxing match, the weird world of corporate spoken word poetry, how ‘dead time’ underpins the gig economy, the unstoppable rise of darts player Fallon Sherrock, the lyricism of Rochdale’s Ian Henderson, and why C Major is objectively the worst key ever invented.

I’ve interviewed many major musical figures, including Marshall Allen, Joan Armatrading, Nicola Benedetti, George Benjamin, Sarah Connolly, Kirill Gerstein, Tigran Hamasyan, Danny L Harle, Stephen Hough, Shabaka Hutchings, Elaine Mitchener, Caroline Polachek, Éliane Radigue, Patrice Rushen, Rebecca Saunders, Matthew Shipp, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and John Wilson, and I’ve written features about experimental dance music in North West England, the disco double clap, Barrioke, brass bandsorchestral politics, everyone’s favourite Christmas chord, and the history of the FIFA soundtrack. My work has been published in The New York TimesThe New Yorker, The GuardianThe Financial TimesBandcamp DailyDazed, Pitchfork, The Face, and Jazzwise, and I’m an editor and books columnist for VAN.

If you’d like to discuss a piece — or even commission me! — I’m always happy to chat, at [email protected]

Profiles & Interviews

Built on Sand: Dame Sarah Connolly for VAN Magazine, April 2024

The Accidental Avant-Garde: Danny L Harle for VAN Magazine, March 2024

Two Pianists Make a Life Out of an Intimate Art Form: Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy for The New York Times, February 2024

“David Bowie cracked me – maybe not in a good way”: Maria Schneider for The Guardian, February 2024

Oliver Leith‘s Strange Sounds of Simultaneous Joy and Sadness for The New York Times, February 2024

The Saxophone Master Shabaka Hutchings Is on a Fresh Journey: Flutes for The New York Times, January 2024

For Joan Armatrading, Classical Music Is Just Another Genre for The New York Times, November 2023

Vasily Petrenko‘s British Values for VAN Magazine, November 2023

Victoria Canal Feels Seen for The New Yorker, November 2023

Three Decades In, Matthew Shipp is Still Asking Questions for Bandcamp Daily, October 2023

The Value of Normality: A profile of the Pan-Caucasian Youth Orchestra for VAN Magazine, September 2023

The Conductor John Wilson Doesn’t Like Musical Distinctions for The New York Times, August 2023

An Opera Partnership’s Next Step Is A Fable About Happiness: George Benjamin for The New York Times, July 2023

Breaking Points: Cassandra Miller for VAN Magazine, June 2023

Sketching Lyricism: An interview with Anna Thorvaldsdottir for VAN Magazine, June 2023

Elaine Mitchener‘s Music of Screams for The New York Times, May 2023

“Stop Touring, Take Mushrooms”: An interview with Pekka Kuusisto for VAN Magazine, May 2023

D. A. Mekonnen‘s Transcendent Saxophone Odysseys for Bandcamp Daily, April 2023

Grief, hallucinations and exhumed violins: the astonishing music of Richard Skelton for The Guardian, April 2023

Stephen Hough Revisits His Youth, In Playful Fragments for The New York Times, April 2023

Pain and Transfiguration: An interview with Robin Ticciati for VAN Magazine, March 2023

‘I had to do dramatic things to get attention’: sax player Lakecia Benjamin on crashing Prince gigs and charming Stevie Wonder for The Guardian, January 2023

A Violinist Prepares Her Next Star Turn: Festival Leader: Nicola Benedetti for The New York Times, January 2023

Transience: An interview with Rebecca Saunders for VAN Magazine, December 2022

Saint Jude: South London’s producer of the moment for NME, December 2022

Camilla George interview: “You have to find hope in adversity, because if you don’t, you can’t learn anything, and we don’t grow” for Jazzwise, November 2022

Abel Selaocoe Finds a Home in Improvisation for The New York Times, September 2022

The Empire Strikes Back: Michael League for Jazzwise Magazine, September 2022

“Jazz is a kind of folk music in itself”: Fergus McCreadie for Jazzwise Magazine, July 2022

‘Pistol’ Tells Steve Jones’s Story. With a Touch of Showbiz for The New York Times, May 2022

Tigran Hamasyan Puts a New Spin on Old Standards for Bandcamp Daily, April 2022

Compose me a rainbow: Emma Rawicz for Jazzwise Magazine, March 2022

For a Composer at 90, There’s Nothing but Time: Éliane Radigue for The New York Times, February 2022

Marshall Allen, at 97, Broadens the Arkestra’s Cosmos for Bandcamp Daily, January 2022

Fallon Sherrock is the most talked-about player on the darts circuit for The Face Magazine, December 2021

“Hands are a symbol of praise – but they are also lifted up at police”: Immanuel Wilkins for The Guardian, January 2022

Shooting Stars: Melissa Aldana for Jazzwise Magazine, January 2022

Romantic Comedy: Kieran Hodgson for VAN Magazine, July 2021

Sons of Kemet Are Moving on Up for Trench Magazine, June 2021

Deeper than music: Can Çakmur for Bachtrack, March 2021

Collapsed in Sunbeams: Arlo Parks for GRAMMY, January 2021


The Wartime Music of Debussy and Komitas, Still Resonating Today for The New York Times, April 2024

Holst’s “The Planets” was a hit, and a team effort for The New York Times, March 2024

How Manchester’s housing crisis is shaping its culture for Dazed, March 2024

A dispatch from a 26-hour concert for VAN Magazine, March 2024

‘Tunbridge Wells sells out time and time again’: the bonkers craze for karaoke with Barry from Eastenders for The Guardian, October 2023

India’s Early Electronic Music From the ’70s Is Finally Being Released for The New York Times, October 2023

Clap clap! The infectious disco rhythm heard from Barbie to Kylie for The Guardian, July 2023 (ABC Australia interview about the double clap)

William Byrd, An Essential English Composer for Four Centuries for The New York Times, July 2023

North West England’s Unnverving Ambience for Bandcamp Daily, March 2023

Simeon Ten Holt, The Minimalist Composer Who Keeps Getting Left Out for The New York Times, March 2023

Harassment, hierarchies and discreetly rubbed trousers: the exhausting politics of orchestras for The Guardian, March 2023

‘Everyone Wants to Hear’ This One Chord in a Christmas Carol for The New York Times, December 2022

When Technology Makes Music More Accessible for The New York Times, November 2022

A Posthumous Solo Album Reveals A Jazz Star’s Melancholy for The New York Times, November 2022

The delicate art of reinventing the Rhodes for The Vinyl Factory, October 2022

Finishing Bach’s Organ Music, With Help From 118 Composers for The New York Times, October 2022

From Richard Nixon to Kurt Cobain, operas about real people are thriving for The Financial Times, September 2022

The top brass: Ahead of two dedicated Proms, can brass bands finally move beyond the clichés? for The Guardian, August 2022

Simple Simon vs Ed Matthews: British TikTok’s fight of the century for The Face Magazine, July 2022

William Herschel Is Famous For Science. What About His Music? for The New York Times, June 2022

The Meticulous Curation of Another Timbre for Bandcamp Daily, February 2022

Music for the Dark at an Experimental Music Festival for The New York Times, February 2022

Jockey Slut: Is Manchester’s Acid House Smash Hits coming back to life? for Manchester Mill, February 2022

Pitch perfect: the mighty power of the FIFA soundtrack for The Face Magazine, October 2021

The Hilarious, Heartbreaking Life and Music of Malcolm Arnold for The New York Times, November 2021

A Guide to Newcastle’s Improvising Scene for Bandcamp Daily, August 2021

Always Sunny in Wrexham? How the club’s fans feel about its celeb takeover for The Face Magazine, August 2021

Nonstandard McDonald’s: Documenting the world’s most endangered McDonald’s for The Face Magazine, July 2021

Secret Night Gang and the story of Manchester’s bustling jazz scene for Manchester Mill, May 2021

Behind Durham’s Enduring Mining Tradition for Tribune Magazine, February 2021

South Africa’s jazz upstarts are imagining a new nation for Huck Magazine, February 2021


For more reviews, see my Guardian profile, the Jazzwise website, or the Pages Turned section of VAN.

Barry Kosky’s Das Rheingold at Royal Opera House for VAN Magazine, September 2023

Confrontations: Harvey Sachs’s Schoenberg Why He Matters for VAN Magazine, September 2023

Cécile McLorin Salvant at the Edinburgh Festival for Jazzwise, August 2023

Herbie Hancock at the Barbican for The Guardian, July 2023

Seaming To Dust Gatherers for Pitchfork, February 2023

Sebastian Rochford / Kit Downes A Short Diary for Pitchfork, January 2023

Pianist of the Century: Igor Levit House Concert for VAN Magazine, January 2023

Hedvig Mollestad / Trondheim Jazz Orchestra Maternity Beat for Pitchfork, December 2022

Kate Molleson Sound Within Sound for VAN Magazine, June 2022

Uèle Lamore LOOM for Crack Magazine, January 2022

Red Note Ensemble; Ensemble Musikfabrik review – manic intensity and the altar of flow for The Guardian, November 2021

Lauren Kinsella Trio at The Yard for Jazzwise Magazine, July 2021

Maya Verlaak All English Music is Greensleeves for TEMPO New Music, March 2021

Oliver Leith good day good day bad day bad day for TEMPO New Music, March 2021


Will the Northern Ballet Sinfonia Survive? for VAN Magazine, February 2024

Clouds, Unmoving: UK arts funding in focus for VAN Magazine, July 2023

A New Arts Venue, Aviva Studios, Tracks Manchester’s Changes for The New York Times, June 2023

Heartlands: a radio documentary on work, Amazon and County Durham for Times Radio, November 2022

Level Out, Level Down for VAN Magazine, November 2022

Confronting Classical Music’s Alcohol Problem for I Care If You Listen, December 2021

‘Dead time’ and the broken world of work for Huck Magazine, October 2021

Will Britain’s brass band tradition survive Covid? for The Telegraph, January 2021

Thoughts, Essays, Programme Notes, and Miscellaneous Silly Bits

Rising To A Crescendo: A Classical Music Word Jail for VAN Magazine, July 2023

A (Silly) C Major Playlist for VAN Magazine, April 2023

I Went To The Royal Opera House for £1 And All I Got Was This Scotch Egg for VAN Magazine, March 2023

Black Angels (Crumb, Finnis, Schubert) for Manchester Collective, March 2023

Places We Know (Leith, Mazzoli, Shostakovich) for Manchester Collective, December 2022

Arcadiana (Adés, Widmann, Brahms) for Manchester Collective, October 2022

On Ralph Vaughan Williams, at 150 for The Guardian, September 2022

On corporate spoken word for The Fence Magazine, September 2022

On the places where pop and classical collide for The Bridge Festival, April 2022

On mundane gossip for The Face Magazine, March 2022

On living your life at 432hz for VAN Magazine, February 2022

On classical music’s humour fails for VAN Magazine, September 2021

On ‘strategic priority’ in music education for Music Teacher Magazine, May 2021

On music venues in Manchester for The Independent, October 2020