The Oakland Symphony has announced the death of Music Director Michael Morgan who died on August 20, at Oakland Kaiser where he had been admitted for an infection. He was 63 and had returned to conducting last month for the San Francisco Symphony and Bear Valley Music Festival after a successful kidney transplant surgery in May.

Michael Morgan was born in Washington, D.C., 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. He first worked with Leonard Bernstein during that same summer.

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 seven years under both Solti and Daniel Barenboim. In 1986, he was invited by Leonard Bernstein to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. As guest conductor, Morgan has appeared with most of America’s major orchestras, as well as the New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater and Washington National Opera.

Since 1991, Morgan served as Music Director of the Oakland Symphony. He was Music Director at Bear Valley Music Festival, and Music Director of Gateways Music Festival. He was Music Director Emeritus of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera.

In 2020, he began an association with the San Francisco Symphony as the first curator of their Currents online series.

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