David Morris was born in London. After leaving school he worked in a variety of jobs ranging from rock musician to librarian before entering university. He studied at Aberystwyth and later at Durham Universities, where he obtained a PhD in composition under the Australian composer David Lumsdaine. Music written at that time shows the influence of Lumsdaine and Birtwistle, as well as the more general direction of Messiaen and Stravinsky.
In 1981 he moved to Northern Ireland where he taught at the Ulster Polytechnic, Queen’s University, and at the University of Ulster. His more recent music shows the influence of jazz and minimalism. He has been the recipient of several prizes, among them that of the International Lutoslawski Competition 1990/91. David Morris retired from full time teaching in 2006.