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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 11 a.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

How Joseph Young went from high school teacher to Berkeley Symphony conductor

This interview aired in the June 1, 2023 episode of Crosscurrents.

The first time Joseph Young saw an orchestra was when he was a teenager in South Carolina. He was drawn to the role of the conductor. Joseph is the conductor for the Berkeley Symphony. He’s one of a small number of Black conductors in the country. A 2023 report by the League of American Orchestras found about 6.7% of music conductors are Black.

Joseph says when it comes to diversity he wants his shows to not only be accessible, but relatable.

This weekend's show by the Berkeley Symphony is inspired by stories about strong women. It's called "Enduring Stories." In this interview, Joseph Young shares his career and how the late Oakland Symphony Conductor Michael Morgan changed his life.

This interview was produced by Porfirio Rangel.

Click the play button above to listen to the news.

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Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.