biography

Biography

With three Music Director positions, a demanding guest conducting schedule, major awards and a career spanning four continents, Randall Craig Fleischer is making a substantial impact.

 

Mr. Fleischer has appeared as a guest conductor with many major orchestras in the United States and internationally including repeat engagements with the Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra and many others. “…There was purpose and meaning in the performance, and Fleischer let the lyricism of the music flow in seamless lines.” Deseret News - Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

As Music Director/Conductor of three symphony orchestras, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Anchorage Symphony and Flagstaff Symphony, Mr. Fleischer has led each orchestra through a dramatic period of artistic growth, demonstrating his abilities as a proven orchestra builder. “…This sounds like a different symphony orchestra, and this season should be an exciting experience.“ Arizona Daily Sun 1998. Subscriptions are up substantially in each orchestra and concerts are regularly selling out. “The HVP’s music director was heartily affirmed by the extended standing ovation.”

 

Winner of Newsweek Magazine’s “Parent’s Choice Award” for his groundbreaking CD ROM of “Peter and the Wolf”, Mr. Fleischer stands alone as the only American conductor to receive this prestigious award.

 
Maestro Fleischer with Rostropovich and the National Symphony Orchestra in Avery Fischer Hall

Mr. Fleischer first came to international attention when, while serving his first of five years as Assistant, then Associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, he conducted Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist during the NSO’s 1990 tour of Japan and the U.S.S.R. This was the first time Rostropovich had played the cello in Russia since his forced exile in 1972. “…Fleischer was intently focused on Rostropovich whenever the cello was playing; they seemed to have an almost telepathic rapport, and a true dialogue was maintained between the cello and the orchestra, often with individual players. But parts of the concerto, when the cello is silent, have a fully symphonic stature. In these, Fleischer’s individuality had fuller play and he proved to be a highly skilled conductor. Balances and phrasing were carefully considered, significant details in the orchestration (particularly some woodwind passages) were deftly brought out, there were some subtle dynamic nuances and a constant sense that the conductor was fully in control. Even with this distinguished soloist, some of the concerto’s finest moments were orchestral.” Joseph McLellan, Washington Post. Mr. Fleischer was featured in the internationally broadcast PBS documentary “Soldier of Music” which documented Rostropovich’s return to the Soviet Union and was also featured on the “60 Minutes” segment on this event. “Soldier of Music” was later released on the Sony Video label.

 
Randall Craig Fleischer with Menotti, rehearsing the world premiere of his choral work

Mr. Fleischer again had the honor of being chosen to accompany Maestro Rostropovich, once more conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, this time in Avery Fisher Hall in a performance of Prokofiev’s “Sinfonia Concertante” in celebration of the composer’s birth. In December of 1992, Mr. Fleischer conducted an ensemble of over 70 cellos, including YoYo Ma, and a 190 voice chorus in the Kennedy Center Awards tribute to Rostropovich, televised nationally on CBS with then President and Mrs. Bush presiding. In 1993, Mr. Fleischer conducted a private concert for Pope John-Paul at the Vatican. The Pontiff awarded Mr. Fleischer a medal for his achievements in music.

 

In 1995 Mr. Fleischer made his debut with New York City Opera conducting “The Magic Flute.” The New York Times critic Kenneth Furie wrote, ”But he (Fleischer) is the rare Mozart conductor who understands that the composer has already done the hard work, so that the conductor‘s most important task is to allow the phrases to find their natural shape and breathe.” Mr. Fleischer’s operatic repertoire includes productions of La Boheme, Turandot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, La Traviata and others. Joseph McClellan of the Washington Post wrote, “…there was often a chamber music quality - a sense of subtly nuanced dialogue - in the interactions between solo singers and the orchestra, expertly conducted by Randall Craig Fleischer.”

 
Maestro Fleischer with composers Shulamit Ran, Richard, Wernick, George Tsantakis, and Emma Lou Diemer, after conducting the Friedheim Awards

Active as a composer, Mr. Fleischer is a national leader in the area of symphonic rock and world music fusion. Pioneering these new and growing genres for more than twelve years now, he has worked with artists such as John Densmore (The Doors), Natalie Merchant, Blondie, Ani DiFranco, John Cale (Velvet Underground) Garth Hudson (The Band), Kenny Rogers, and Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai, Burning Sky, The Hawk Project, The Benaly Family and others. As a fervent advocate of new music, Mr. Fleischer has commissioned and conducted many world premieres and many works by living composers.

 
Randy Fleischer and Peter Schickele pose together following a benefit concert

A passionate educator, Fleischer has co-authored several instructional pieces for children in collaboration with his wife, comedian Heidi Joyce, which were premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, including three rap pieces for orchestra. Currently their children’s programs, “Cool Concerts for Kids” have been performed with great success with symphony orchestras around the country. In January of 1991, Ms. Joyce and Mr. Fleischer co-authored and premiered “Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Spiritual Journey” with the NSO, a piece for narrator and orchestra which explores the history of the civil rights movement with excerpts of Dr. King’s speeches, narrated for Dr. King’s daughter, Yolanda King. This piece was broadcast on PBS in February of 1995.

 

Mr. Fleischer studied with Leonard Bernstein as a conducting fellow at Tanglewood in 1989. He served as the Assistant Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1989. While working toward his Master of Music degree at the Indiana University School of Music, he served as chorus master of the I.U. Opera Theater program from 1983 - 1985. Fleischer received his Bachelor of Music Education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has studied conducting privately with Otto Werner Mueller and in Master class with Seiji Ozawa, Ricardo Muti, Gustav Meier and others.

 

Mr. Fleischer lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi and daughter Michaela.

 

Contact Info: John Such 212-926-4833

 

In the midst of the commotion at the final note, Fleischer cued a gong with his forefinger raised, arm extended: the final sound, the final gesture. The maestro kept his arm extended, the players tensed, and the audience remained breathless until all of the sound had been wrung from the theater.

-- Katie Stine, The Anchorage Daily News

 

 

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