The mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, born in Portland, Oregon, attended Gonzaga University in Spokane prior to scholarship studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She appeared in several off-Broadway and road productions as well as with the harpist Jay Miller at the Cafe Carlyle, the Waldorf-Astoria's Peacock Alley, and other Manhattan night spots. Since 1972 she has been concertizing with her husband and accompanist, William Bolcom. Together they perform American popular songs from the late nineteenth-century through the 1920s and 30s, the latest songs by Leiber and Stoller, and cabaret songs by Bolcom and his longtime collaborator, the poet-lyricist Arnold Weinstein. Performances have taken them throughout the United States, Canada and abroad to Lisbon, Florence, Istanbul, Cairo, London, and Moscow.
To date Bolcom and Morris have recorded over twenty albums; the first, "After the Ball," garnered a Grammy nomination for Joan Morris. Other albums include two collections of Bolcom and Weinstein's cabaret songs as well as anthologies of Gershwin, Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, Porter, Kern, and Youmans. Since 1981 Joan Morris has taught in the musical theater program at the University of Michigan.