MICHAEL MORGAN, Music Director & Principal Conductor
Michael Morgan was born in Washington, D.C., 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. There he was a student of Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa, and it was at that time that he first worked with Leonard Bernstein.
In 1980, he won first prize in the Hans Swarovsky International Conductors Competition in Vienna, Austria and became Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, under Leonard Slatkin. His operatic debut was in 1982 at the Vienna State Opera in 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. 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 the New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater and Washington National Opera.
In 2005, he received two national awards by major music associations, the San Francisco Chapter of The Recording Academy with the 2005 Governor’s Award for Community Service and, on the opposite coast, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) as one of its five Concert Music Award recipients.
Among innovations, Morgan created a new Philharmonic Artistic & Cultural Initiative Team (ACIT) composed of board members, musicians, staff and community members who work with Maestro Morgan to develop programming that is responsive to Sacramento community needs and interests.
Morgan continues to draw attention, most recently in a feature article in the Nov. 4, 2011 issue of the New York Times. He has been called “a trailblazer” for his vision, which matches classic and 20th-century pieces with contemporary pieces by local composers – all with an intention of building community through music. Morgan notes, “The thing I find most interesting about orchestras is using them to bring the town together…We want the fans of this music and that music, who may never see each other in real life, to come and watch a concert together…The orchestra is more than a vehicle for pretty music.”
KENNETH RASKIN, Associate Conductor
Kenneth Raskin was appointed Associate Conductor of the Philharmonic at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. He made his debut with the Philharmonic in May of 2009 conducting Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and lead the orchestra to great acclaim in 2010′s Target Family Concert featuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade. Highlights from past seasons include performances of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven.
Raskin was previously the Assistant Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, where he performed numerous concerts including Classical, Pops, and Young Persons programs. He is currently Music Director of Camerata California, and additional posts have included the Associate Conductor of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, Principal Conductor of the highly regarded San Francisco Bay Area Concerto Orchestra, and more.
Kenneth Raskin has appeared as a guest conductor with several fine orchestras across the United States including the Houston Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, the El Paso Symphony, the Illinois Symphony, the Lubbock Symphony, the Toledo Symphony, the San Francisco Sinfonietta, the University of Michigan Philharmonia.
Maestro Raskin was featured in the League of American Orchestra’s 2005 esteemed Conductor Preview with the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida. In 2004, he was a finalist for the League’s Conducting Fellowship Program, appearing with the Houston and Cleveland Symphony Orchestras. Raskin received his Masters degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Michigan School of Music, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler. He was also a Fellowship Academy Conductor at the Aspen School of Music in Colorado during the summer of 2003.
Kenneth Raskin pursued his career in conducting after distinguishing himself as a professional orchestral trumpeter, first as a member of the Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel, and later as a sought-after freelance musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.