“It’s impossible to come up with a greatest hits for all time, but these tracks are what keep my ears and heart filled these days when I have time to sit down and properly listen to great music. Some tracks have traveled with me for years from playlist to playlist because they are so personal to me while others are recent discoveries. Many capture the anxiety and fear of our times, while others are pure healing in sonic form. I hope they provide some of the same revelations and comfort for you.”- Omid Zoufonoun, Youth Orchestra Principal Conductor
“I have sung or conducted all of this music. The process for choosing the list was to think back to music that gave me chills or great joy when I remembered performing them. The music is often Heartbreaking or Soulful. The characters are always searching, deeply within, or out into the universe. The text is always clearly sung and intentional. All of these selections have spiritual qualities, which is why they are so moving. They are also often rhythmically exciting, which gives you goosebumps! Enjoy!”- Dr. Lynne Morrow, Director, Oakland Symphony Chorus
Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra members have compiled this Playlist showcasing the breadth of their individual tastes and the range of musical influences. Consisting of nearly 90 talented music students (aged 12 to 22 years) from 46 schools and more than 30 cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Youth Orchestra is open by audition to all qualified young people from Bay Area schools. No musician is excluded for reasons of financial need. Led by Omid Zoufonoun, the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra maintains a commitment to cultural exchange through international tours every three years including their recent 2019 tour of China. Prior tours have also given students the opportunity to visit and perform in the Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Australia and New Zealand. For more information on Oakland Symphony and to contribute financially to support the Symphony’s ongoing education work, please visit OaklandSymphony.org. Additional notes on the OSYO Playlist.
Since 1991, Michael Morgan has been the Conductor and Music Director of the Oakland Symphony in Oakland, CA. Morgan has put together a playlist of some of his favorite music that continues to influence and inspire him. Please consider supporting the Oakland Symphony at OaklandSymphony.org. The Playlist begins with one of Morgan’s most important mentors, Leonard Bernstein, conducting New York Philharmonic’s Mahler Symphony No. 7. A highlight of the Playlist is Dawn over the Moscow River from the Leningrad Philharmonic. Morgan’s father took him to his first concert and this was the first piece performed at that concert. Then, the Playlist includes Dvorak Symphony No. 7 with Witold Rowicki and the London Symphony Orchestra performed by another of Morgan’s important teachers: Witold Rowicki, a founder of the Warsaw Philharmonic. The Playlist ends with Bernstein Mass with Bernstein conducting, Alan Titus as Celebrant. Additional notes on Michael Morgan Playlist.
“I guess you could call me a drama queen when it comes to music. I love to listen, and especially play, any piece that grabs my soul. I mean, I can be walking down the street, or waking up in the morning, and if I hear a certain phrase or even just a chord, I freeze, and can be moved to tears. My favorite pieces to play on my violin are the slow, heartbreaking ones. When audiences come to a concert, they don’t really remember what we wore, or even what we played, but they do remember how they felt!”
Violinist Dawn Harms is the Co-Concertmaster with the Oakland Symphony. She is also music director of Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. She is a member of San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster for the New Century Chamber Orchestra. She currently serves on the music faculty at Stanford University, and the SF Conservatory.
“Growing up in the Bay Area, I played French Horn in several local Youth Orchestras and since then have dedicated my life to the Symphony. It’s the first place I felt a sense of belonging. It’s where all of my feelings and experiences can be manifested and stories come to life. Now I have my dream job as the Executive Director of Oakland Symphony. I get to work with Maestro Morgan and our community’s most talented orchestral musicians to share music together with you. This playlist is filled with works and artists that have influenced, entertained, inspired, and comforted me. We are never alone when we can share music.”
Mieko Hatano is the Executive Director at Oakland Symphony, a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, and a 2012 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts DeVos Fellow.
Bernard J. Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente since 2013, collaborated with Oakland Symphony conductor Michael Morgan to develop his Personal Playlist musical selections that inspired, entertained, and moved him. Tyson planned to appear on stage as Guest Artist on the January 24th, 2020 performance at the Paramount Theater in Oakland to introduce the Playlist, but his untimely death in November 2019 transformed this concert into a celebration of his life. These are the songs that Tyson and Michael Morgan chose for that concert.