Oakland East Bay Symphony

The Oakland East Bay Symphony (OEBS) is a leading orchestra based in Oakland, California. The current music director and conductor is Michael Morgan, who has held the position since September 1990. The Paramount Theatre has been the home of the Symphony since 1995. Bryan Nies has been Assistant Conductor since 2002. The Symphony presents six programs of music during the season.

Oakland East Bay Symphony (OEBS)
Concert hallParamount Theatre
Principal conductorMichael Morgan


Oakland East Bay Symphony (OEBS) was founded in July 1988, when musicians from the former Oakland Symphony and the Oakland Symphony League joined together to form a new orchestra. Under Maestro Michael Morgan's direction, the Symphony has become a leader in music education for young people, bringing orchestral music into schools throughout Oakland and the East Bay. More than 60,000 people attend the Symphony's performances at the Paramount Theatre, at churches and senior centers, and at other community sites each year.[1] The symphony presents both classic and innovative new works. The Symphony is an important positive force in bringing together the talents and resources of diverse arts groups from the community. Whenever possible, OEBS collaborates with local ballet, opera, choral and theatrical groups and performs at community events. In June 2001, OEBS presented a special concert entitled "A Tribute to Gordon Parks" in collaboration with the Oakland Museum of California on the eve of the opening of a national touring exhibit of Mr. Parks' work. In July 2002, the Symphony collaborated with Jack London Square for a free Fourth of July Pops Concert, performed with fireworks.

In 2007, The Symphony performed a musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. The symphony perform the West Coast premier of Petaluma-based composer Nolan Gasser's "Black Suit Blues". Based on a poem by Robert Trent Jones Jr. about the impact of King's life on the United States, the production features the symphony, chorus as well as baritone singer Robert Sims and saxophonist David Henderson. The program also included Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9.

In early December 2007 Let Us Break Bread Together: A Holiday Celebration, Michael Morgan and the orchestra are joined by Oakland Symphony Chorus, Terrance Kelly & the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Piedmont Choirs, Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir and Klezmer ensemble Kugelplex[2] for inspiring performances of spirituals, classical and sacred music, and other holiday favorites.

December 2007, the Oakland Ballet celebrated the 35th Anniversary of Ronn Guidi’s famous "Nutcracker" at the Paramount, with Maestro Michael Morgan conducting the music of Tchaikovsky.

American Masterworks Series

On May 18, 2007, the Oakland East Bay Symphony launched "American Masterworks Series." With its May 18, 2007, performance of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" was sold out, with over 3000 patrons in attendance.[3][4] One outstanding feature of the production was the appearance by the 120-voice Oakland Symphony Chorus directed by Lynne Morrow. The Porgy’s signature tune were performed, "Summertime," "Oh, I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'," and "It Ain't Necessarily So." Casting included bass (Porgy) James Monroe Iglehart, soprano (Bess) Dara Rahming, tenor Trente Morant, tenor Kalil Wilson, baritone Milton Williams, and baritone Joseph Wright.

The second offering of "American Masterworks Series" continues with another composer who blurs the line between high and popular art, Stephen Sondheim. Follies (1971) will be performed in concert version in May 2008. The concert version will include all of the popular songs, including "Broadway Baby", "Losing My Mind" and "Could I Leave You?"

Awards and recognition

Year Category Organization Result Notes
2006 Adventurous Programming Awards[5] The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) First Place Programming of Contemporary Music
2007 Excellence in Community Engagement[6] American Symphony Orchestra League Winner outstanding work by orchestras that can serve as models for other orchestras

Selective discography

Year Title Genre Conductor
2002 Live at the Paramount Theatre!
New Works for a New Century
Classical Michael Morgan


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