Obituary: Oakland Symphony Orchestra musical director Michael Morgan dies at 63

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Conductor Michael Morgan died on August 20 in Oakland Kaiser. He was 63 years old.

Morgan, who had been the musical director of the Oakland Symphony since 1991, was admitted to hospital last week with an infection. He had undergone a kidney transplant in May and returned to work shortly after.

Morgan was born in Washington, DC and exhibited prodigious talents, leading from the age of 12. He studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood and first worked that summer with Leonard Bernstein. His opera debut was at the Vienna State Opera and he went on to conduct operas with companies such as the New York City Opera, the St. Louis Opera House, and the Washington National Opera.

In 1986, he was chosen as assistant conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the same year, Bernstein invited him to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. Besides In his performances with the Oakland Symphony, Morgan has served as conductor of the Oakland Youth Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Bear Valley Music Festival, and Director Emeritus of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera.

“Our entire organization is suffering a profound loss,” said Jim Hasler, chairman of the board of directors of the Oakland Symphony, in a press release. “MichaelThe impact of on our community and the field of national orchestras cannot be overstated – and it left us too soon. We have been blessed for the past 30 years as Michael laid the groundwork for an Oakland Symphony dedicated to diversity, education, artistic collaboration, and the celebration of music across genres and cultures. His vision of orchestras as service organizations was a beacon at the local and national level. This vision is his legacy, and the Oakland Symphony, Chorus and Youth Orchestra will renew their commitment for years to come.


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