Thursday, November 5, 2015

Michael Morgan Conducts Bay Area Rainbow Symphony Sat. Nov. 7, 2015 in Joseph Stillwell, Music for a Forgotten City; Works of Dvorak & Kalinnikov

Michael Morgan

Joseph Stillwellphotograph by Brian Oberstadt

About Michael Morgan, guest 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.

About Joseph Stillwell, composer
Joseph Stillwell began composing at age 17. He currently resides in San Francisco where he is on the Music Theory and Musicianship faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Joseph also maintains a busy schedule of private teaching and composing. In a review for the San Francisco Classical Voice, critic Janos Gereben described Joseph’s music as, “complex and yet instantly appealing, gorgeously tonal but not ‘old-fashioned.’” Joseph has composed works for a variety of genres, ranging from solo piano and art song to wind ensemble and orchestra. His compositions are notable for their attention to form, economy of material and expressive clarity.

While a student at the San Francisco Conservatory, Joseph was named winner of the 2010 James Highsmith Composition Competition for his orchestral tone poem Music for a Forgotten City. He also received second place in the Conservatory’s 2010 Choral Composition Competition, and third place in the 2009 Art Song Competition. Joseph’s String Quartet No. 1 was one of three finalists in the 2009 Lyrica Chamber Music Young Composers Competition. His orchestral work Jaunt was a winner of the 2008 Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra Fanfare Competition. His 2005 wind ensemble work Morning Hike was named as a finalist in the 2009 Frank Ticheli Composition Competition, and was also winner of the 2006 University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Wind Ensemble Composition Competition. In the spring of 2008, Joseph’s Two Poems of Edgar Allan Poe and Triptych for Solo Piano were represented in the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point Online Journal (Vol. VI), a refereed publication of student achievement.

Joseph received his Masters in Music in 2010 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with David Conte and theory with Scott Foglesong. In 2007, Joseph graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point where he studied composition with Charles Rochester Young and piano with J. Michael Keller.

Joseph is a member of ASCAP and the American Composers Forum.

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