By Jean Marcus-Stole

Seattle Virtuoso Quinton Morris Is Set to Open Violin Studio for Low-Income Students of Color

With Key to Change—serving South King County—Morris pays forward generosity he received as a youth.

For Seattle University’s Quinton Morris, one of two tenured African-American violin professors in the United States, the violin is both an instrument and a seed. And with it Morris is growing a great forest—his most recent plot being south of Seattle, where he’s founded Key to Change, a violin studio with branches in Renton and Maple Valley for students of color with limited financial resources.

The studio’s origins began way back in the ’90s, when Hank Linear, then president of the Renton Black Parents Association, saw Morris had talent. Linear, through his organization, made it possible for Morris to attend college tuition-free and bought him his first violin. Now Morris wants to pay that generosity forward.

And the virtuoso has a lot to offer. Morris is a filmmaker and entrepreneur who this year toured nearly two dozen cities, from Asia to Africa, to perform, lecture, and screen his latest project, Breakthrough, a short film about the 18th-century violinist and composer Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

“I think I’ve always been a very detail-oriented person,” says Morris, sitting in his modest Seattle University office just north of the campus chapel and reflecting on the roots of his work ethic. “That’s been me since I was a little boy.”

Morris’ education started early. He learned to live both a creative and structured life by watching his father, a former director of housing in Illinois, and mother, a manager for the ombudsman office for King County, work diligently—and he intends to impart this ethic to his Key to Change students. “I didn’t realize at the time that those skills would prepare me for where I am now,” says Morris, who will receive the Governor’s Young Artist Award next month. “Having my own company and my own nonprofit just sounded like the next right thing.”

Key to Change, now accepting applications for lessons starting in November, aims to provide access to world-class private instruction to some 25 middle- and high-school students in South King County. Students will also participate in master classes taught by guest artists and attend workshops on the audition process, solo and ensemble preparation, and the college application process.

“A lot of people of color and people from low-income backgrounds are being pushed south of Seattle,” Morris says. “And unfortunately there are not very many resources there that are arts-related. I have the opportunity now–I’ve been very blessed–to give something back.”

quintonmorris.org

More in Music

Hear Top Northwest Drummer Chat for Free at KEXP

The drumming podcast ‘The Trap Set’ heads to Seattle on April 12 with drummers from Pearl Jam, Death Cab For Cutie, and more.

The Moondoggies is a hoot. Photo by Jason Neuerburg
The Moondoggies Push Against Rock Escapism with ‘A Love Sleeps Deep’

Frontman Kevin Murphy discusses how drastic life changes reshaped the local band’s outlook and sound.

John Luther Adams. Courtesy Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony’s ‘Become Desert’ Exceeds the Hype

John Luther Adams’ follow-up to ‘Become Ocean’ delivers a stunning surround-sound experience.

Clock In at Clock-Out Lounge

The new Beacon Hill venue/restaurant/bar strives to foster the music scene with a working class vibe.

Full Upstream Music Fest Lineup Revealed

The reunited Jawbreaker joins Miguel, The Flaming Lips, and a myriad of local bands.

Sasquatch! Music Festival 2018 Lineup Revealed

David Byrne, Tyler, the Creator, Bon Iver, The National, and Modest Mouse headline the Gorge.

Courtesy Barsuk Records
Song Premiere: Hibou’s ‘Black Mirror’-Inspired “Junipero Love”

The Seattle indie pop songwriter gets lost in dreamy sound on a new track from ‘Something Familiar.’

Photo by Danny Clinch
Pearl Jam Announces Safeco Field Concerts to Raise Money for Homelessness

August’s “The Home Shows” will be the band’s first Seattle gigs in five years.

The New Year’s Garbage Bash moves to Conor Byrne and brings along Honcho Poncho. Courtesy of the band
Your Guide to New Year’s Eve in Seattle

Fill your weekend with folly and frivolity and music for every taste as we ring in 2018.

The Encyclopedic Sets of T.Wan

Seattle’s most multifarious DJ finds her voice.

Versing Ascends to ‘Nirvana’

On their new record, the band explores self-criticism and problematic faves.

Heatwarmer. Courtesy of the artist
The Best Local Records We Heard This September Smooshed the Unsmooshable

Mackned, Heatwarmer, and Darto brought together styles we didn’t know could coexist.