Revisit Michael Morgan's Closing Plenary Talk from the 2021 Annual Conference

On August 6, the final day of 2021 Annual Conference Conference, Oakland Symphony's executive director, Mieko Hatano, and music director, Michael Morgan, reflected together on the challenges of the past year for the orchestra sector. They recognized the ways California orchestras worked to innovate and continued to bring music to their communities during the pandemic and discussed how the world has changed for orchestras and how we can rise to meet those changes head-on and be more mission-centered and relevant in the years ahead.


The ACSO Board, Staff, and Members mourn with the Oakland Symphony and Bear Valley Music Festival over the loss of their maestro Michael Morgan. Our hearts are broken at his passing. During his 30-year career as a conductor, Michael worked tirelessly to center community service and inclusion in everything he did, as is reflected in his words above shared at the ACSO 2021 Annual Conference. His example and leadership have made the classical music world better and his legacy will continue on.

“This is a terribly sad moment for everyone in the Oakland Symphony family. We have lost our guiding father,” said Executive Director Mieko Hatano. “Michael’s plans and ambitions were set for several seasons to come. He made his Orchestra socially authentic, demanded equality, and he made his Orchestra our orchestra. He fashioned a unique, informed artistic profile that attracted one of the most diverse audiences in the nation. His music reflected his beliefs: reverence for the past, attuned to the future, rooted in his adopted home of Oakland. His spirit will always guide the enduring future of the Oakland Symphony.”

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