Music Director & conductor
Michael Morgan was born in Washington, DC, where he attended public schools and began conducting at the age of 12. While a student at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he spent a summer at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, studying with Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa. It was during this summer that he first worked with Leonard Bernstein.
His operatic debut was in 1982 at the Vienna State Opera conducting Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. In 1986, Sir Georg Solti chose him to become the Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for five years under both Solti and Daniel Barenboim. Also in 1986 he was invited by Leonard Bernstein to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. As a guest conductor he has appeared with most of America’s major orchestras as well as with the New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater and Washington National Opera.
In addition to his duties with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Maestro Morgan serves as Artistic Director of Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Music Director of Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, Music Director of Bear Valley Music Festival, and teaches the graduate conducting course at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As Stage Director he has led productions of Bernstein’s Mass at the Oakland East Bay Symphony and stagings of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Gounod’s Faust at Festival Opera. As a chamber musician (piano) he has appeared on the Chamber Music Alive series in Sacramento as well as making the occasional appearance in the Bay Area.
He was honored by the San Francisco Chapter of The Recording Academy with the 2005 Governor’s Award for Community Service. On the opposite coast, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) chose Morgan as one of its five 2005 Concert Music Award recipients. ASCAP further honored Oakland East Bay Symphony in 2006 with its Award for Adventurous Programming. The San Francisco Foundation has honored him with one of its Community Leadership Awards, and he received an Honorary Doctorate from Holy Names University.
Maestro Morgan makes many appearances in the nation’s schools each year, particularly in the East Bay, and is highly regarded as a champion of arts education and minority access to the arts. He serves on the Boards of Oaktown Jazz Workshops and Purple Silk Music Education Foundation. He makes his home in Oakland with his mother and sister.