Michael Berkowitz begins his 4th season as Principal Pops Conductor for the Santa Rosa Symphony in October 2011. He appeared as conductor for the SRS Pops for three previous seasons before his popularity and talent was recognized with the title “principal.” Previous positions have included the Carolina Pops in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Paducah (Kentucky) Pops.
He recently concluded a three-year run as music director/conductor for Liza Minnelli, working with her on the Tony Award-winning, “Liza’s At The Palace” on Broadway and in concerts around the world. Berkowitz was seen on PBS stations as Liza’s conductor/drummer when “Liza’s At The Palace” aired.
He served as Marvin Hamlisch’s music director for nine years, appearing with him at the White House, the London Symphony and the Academy Awards as well as virtually every symphony in the United States. Berkowitz also had a 13-year working relationship with arranger Nelson Riddle, as his drummer, assistant conductor and musical contractor. Berkowitz worked closely with Riddle on projects, including television specials and recordings, with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Linda Ronstadt.
On Broadway, Berkowitz has collaborated with theatre legends such as Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins and Michael Kidd.
Jerome Robbins requested him for the premiere of his West Side Story Suite for the New York City Ballet. Berkowitz conducted this ballet with the NYCB over 50 times, including two tours to Japan and the Kennedy Center.
Michael Berkowitz’s recordings include original cast albums of Jerome Robbins Broadway, Liza’s At The Palace, Follies with the NY Philharmonic, My Favorite Broadway, Anyone Can Whistle, Betty Buckley at Carnegie Hall, Tribute To Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall, Route 66 and All The Way, Tribute to Sinatra with the Cincinnati Pops and many more.
In addition to Liza Minnelli, Berkowitz has appeared with Elaine Paige, Michael Crawford, Beyonce, Harry Connick Jr., Steve Lawrence, Helen Reddy, Jon Bon Jovi, Chuck Berry, Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, Hal Linden, Sting, Billy Joel and many more
A frequent guest conductor, Berkowitz has brought his special brand of music, exciting Pops programming and quick wit to the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the California Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, the Lexington Symphony, the Carolina Pops, the New Mexico Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Guatemala, the Elgin Symphony, the Hartford Symphony as well as orchestras throughout Italy, France, Sweden and Germany.