Michael Morgan, Guest Conductor
Conrad Susa - The Blue Hour
Mahler - Kindertotenlieder
Zachary Gordin, baritone
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 2
Part of BARS' LGBTQ Composer and Performing Artist Series, which strives to redefine perceptions of LGBTQ music and increase awareness of the beauty, talents, and accomplishments of fellow LGBTQ individuals and groups.
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 Zachary Gordin, baritone
Baritone Zachary Gordin is renowned for bringing masterful singing and strong physicality to a wide variety of roles: from baroque heroes, to contemporary works written specifically for him. For his debut at the Olympic Music Festival, the Seattle Times hailed him as “a singer already capable of some arresting musical insights. The occasional big effects were commanding and intense without ever descending into coarseness, and the delicacy and tonal allure he brought to the cycle’s preponderance of quiet songs were deeply impressive.” Recent operatic performances include Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte as a guest artist with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Visalia Opera Company, Escamillo in Carmen with Diablo Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Lyric Opera, Ben in The Telephone with Blue Sage Center for the Arts, Silvio in Pagliacci and Monterone in Rigoletto with Sacramento Opera, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas and El Cantaor in La vida breve with West Bay Opera, Germont in La Traviata with West Bay Opera and Center Stage Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with North Bay Opera and Center Stage Opera, and many others.
Equally at home as a soloist on the concert stage, Gordin has performed Brahms’ Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Duruflé’s Requiem with the Valley Concert Chorale, Mendelssohn’s Magnificat with the Dominican Winifred Baker Chorale, Schubert’s Mass in E-flat and Psalm 92 with the San Francisco Choral Society, Bach’s Cantata #82 “Ich habe genug” and Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Duruflé’s Requiem, and Schubert’s Mass in G with San Francisco City Chorus, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Women Sing, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Center Stage Opera Orchestra. Upcoming performances include: a concert of new works for The Artist Sessions at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, “Opera Under the Stars” concert for Opera Arts Palm Springs, and another performance of Carmina Burana with the YOSA Philharmonic in San Antonio.
Gordin has been in high demand as a guest artist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, where has sung Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Verdi’s Otello, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, “A Night at the Opera”, as well as Orff’s Carmina Burana. As Carmina Burana has become a signature piece, over the past few seasons he has reprised this demanding role in performances with Pacific Shores Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Clara Chorale, the Choral Project, and the UC Berkeley Choruses. Recent premieres of works written for him have included “Constant Fever” by Sheli Nan, The Myth of Kurva by Loretta Notareschi, and “A Nation Announcing Itself” by Clint Borzoni for the Sacramento Pride Gala “Courage to Stand”.
Gordin’s talent has been recognized as a winner of prestigious vocal competitions, including: the Pacific Musical Society Competition, East Bay Opera League Vocal Competition, Bellini International Voice Competition, and the Ibla Grand Prize Baroque Music Competition. He was the recipient of the Irene Patti Swartz Encouragement Award for the Florida Grand Opera National Voice Competition, and Grantee of the Vocal Arts Foundation in San Francisco. He was also World Finalist for the Academia at Teatro alla Scala, Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the youngest candidate selected for the ORFEO 2000 World Competition of International Finalists hosted by Hannover Staatsoper.