Oakland Symphony finds its way forward after the death of music director Michael Morgan

Posted on: January 21, 2022

“Not a month after Michael Morgan made his debut at [San Francisco Symphony] conducting a Rossini overture, Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony, and an orchestral arrangement of James P. Johnson’s Charleston—such wide-ranging programs … were a package deal if you wanted to see Morgan at the helm—the Oakland Symphony’s artistic director and conductor of 30 years died in August 2021,” writes Jasmine Liu in Tuesday’s (1/19) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Despite the void that his passing left, Morgan’s leadership … characterized as … values-based, community-oriented, and energetic … left no doubt among those at the Oakland Symphony about what the identity of the organization moving forward would be. ‘As much as we were all in the throes of grief and mourning, we worked through it together by deciding: This was his life’s work, and it needs to be ours too, but in a completely different way, because he’s not here anymore,’ [Executive Director Mieko] Hatano says…. Morgan preferred not to see educational programs and time spent in the community as ‘outreach” but rather as the core of the Oakland Symphony’s mission…. Hatano emphasizes that to achieve this inclusivity, the Oakland Symphony must remain committed to expanding access.”