Staff Archives - Berkeley Symphony
Ming Luke

Ming Luke

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Ming Luke


Education Director

Biography

With the “energy, creativity and charisma not seen since Leonard Bernstein” and “vibrant,” “mind-blowing,” and “spectacular” conducting, Ming Luke is a versatile conductor that has excited audiences around the world.  Highlights include conducting the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow, performances of Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella at the Kennedy Center, his English debut at Sadler’s Wells with Birmingham Royal, conducting Dvorak’s Requiem in Dvorak Hall in Prague, recording scores for a Coppola film, and over a hundred performances at the San Francisco War Memorial with San Francisco Ballet.  He has been recognized nationally for his work with music education and has designed and conducted education concerts and programs with organizations such

Ming Luke Conducting MSO

Photo Credit: Andrian Mendoz

as the Berkeley Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera and others.  Luke has soloed as a pianist with Pittsburgh Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and San Francisco Ballet, and currently serves as Music Director for the Merced Symphony and Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra; Principal Conductor of the Nashville Ballet, Associate Conductor for the Berkeley Symphony; and Principal Guest Conductor for the San Francisco Ballet.  Long time critic Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle said, “Ming Luke delivered the best live theater performance I’ve ever heard of [Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet]” and in 2016 Luke’s War Requiem was named best choral performance of 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Passionate about collaboration with dance companies and deepening the impact of movement to live music, Luke has guested with Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet Orchestra, Nashville Symphony/Ballet, San Diego Ballet and others and conducted l’Orchestre Prométhée in Paris as part of San Francisco Ballet’s residency with Les Etés de la Danse. Noted for is work with Ballet.  Famed dancer Natalia Makarova stated, “Ming has a mixture of pure musicality and a sensitivity to needs of the dancers, which are such rare qualities.”

Luke has written, arranged, and performed over 150 education concerts with the Berkeley Symphony and has served on grant panels for the National Endowment of the Arts and the Grants and Cultural Committee of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. An exciting pops conductor, Luke has created and conducted a variety of pops concerts in many venues, from baseball stadiums, to picnics in the park with over 4,000 people in attendance, traditional concert halls and recording for Major League Baseball.

Ming Luke holds a Master of Fine Arts in Conducting from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Piano Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Cindy Michael

Cindy Michael

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Cindy Michael


Administration ~ Finance Director

Biography

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Cindy Michael

Samantha Noll

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Samantha Noll


Administration ~ Patron Services Manager

Biography

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Cindy Michael

Maggie Perkes

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Maggie Perkes


Administration ~ Director of Audience Development & Engagement

Biography

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Cindy Michael

Sarah Thomas

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Sarah Thomas


Administration ~ Director of Operations

Biography

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René Mandel

René Mandel

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René Mandel


Administration ~ Executive Director
René Mandel

René Mandel was appointed Executive Director of Berkeley Symphony in August 2011. He began his relationship with Berkeley Symphony in 2006 as Artistic Administrator, Orchestra Manager, and Principal Second Violin. In these roles he elevated the quality of the orchestra by recruiting high-caliber musicians, hiring soloists, and managing concert repertoire. Mandel also served on the search committee that recruited current Music Director Joana Carneiro.

Mandel was a founding member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra from 1993-2000, serving on its board, and was co-chair of the music director search which brought Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg to the organization. Mandel has served as Director of Artistic Operations and Executive Producer of Montréal Symphony Orchestra from 2009-11.

An accomplished violinist, Mandel was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 1983-1994, and an active musician in the Hollywood studio industry from 1985-2009. His solo appearances include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, among others. In addition, he has performed with San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and Los Angeles Opera.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, where he studied with Manuel Compinsky, René later attended Indiana University under Josef Gingold and completed his studies with Stuart Canin at UC Santa Barbara.

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