Pianist/composer Ellen Hoffman has been composing and arranging for Michael Morgan & Oakland Symphony since the first “Break Bread” concert in 1991, when she arranged the traditional hymn Let Us Break Bread Together for orchestra, soloist, and choir.
For this concert, Hoffman has arranged three pieces for voices and Symphony: Two pieces by Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah (for Linda Tillery), If It Be Your Will (for Dr. Lynne Morrow and Oakland Symphony Chorus), and Purple Rain (for Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir), collaborating again with Terrance Kelly, gospel choir director.
Hoffman is a vocal coach and piano teacher, runs a monthly Open Mic (3rd Tuesday every month) at the Berkeley Marsh, and performs weekends at the Great Dickens Fair in San Francisco. Hoffman, who has been on the faculty at both Laney College and Contra Costa College, has worked with many artists including Linda Ronstadt and Bobby McFerrin, and from time-to-time works with the legendary Rita Moreno.
Co-founder and former music director of Jazz Camp West as well as Berkeley Broadway Singers, Hoffman is the composer for Strength from the Roots, an innovative East Bay program for immigrant students. She receives the ideas and personal stories of the students, and turns them into songs which will be performed in concert.