Randall Craig Fleischer



Biography

With an international career spanning four continents, three Music Director positions, a demanding guest conducting schedule, major awards and commissions and a prolific demand as a composer/arranger, Randall Craig Fleischer is making a substantial impact.

He has appeared as a guest conductor with many major orchestras in the United States and internationally including current repeat engagements with the San Francisco Symphony, National Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Festival Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic) and others.  Other recent guest engagements include the Boston Pops, China Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc (Czech Republic), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony and others. 

As Music Director/Conductor of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Anchorage Symphony, the Youngstown Symphony, and formerly the Flagstaff Symphony, he is leading each orchestra through a dramatic period of artistic growth, demonstrating his abilities as a proven orchestra builder.

Active as a composer and arranger, he is a national leader in the area of symphonic rock and World Music symphonic fusion. Pioneering these new and growing genres for many 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, America, Richie Havens, 10,000 Maniacs, Rob Evan, Alex Skolnick (Trans Siberian Orchestra) and others. 

In the area of world music symphonic fusion he has participated in many projects with Native American artists including multi-Grammy nominated, Native American Music Award (Nammy) winner native flutist R. Carlos Nakai, Grammy nominated Nammy winners Burning Sky, The Hawk Project, The Jones Benally Family and others.  His second native fusion project featured "Burning Sky" with John Densmore (drummer from The Doors) on percussion.  He then conducted the Flagstaff Symphony in a performance with "Burning Sky" at the Native American Music Awards.  He is the only conductor to ever perform at the Nammy's. 

His original composition, Triumph featuring R.Carlos Nakai and the Jones Benally Family integrates Navajo ceremonial songs and dances into a 35-minute orchestral work.  Fully staged and choreographed, Triumph was premiered by the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and also performed by the Anchorage Symphony in January of 2007. 

In August of 2006 he completed Echoes, a multimedia work commissioned by five Native American Museums including the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  Echoes, an orchestral work featuring indigenous music and dance from Alaska, Hawaii and Massachusetts, and video projections of natural sights from each region, received its premiere in January of 2008 with the Anchorage Symphony. 

Echoes was also performed at the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) and was featured in an article in Symphony Magazine.  As a fervent advocate of new music, he has commissioned and conducted many world premieres and many works by living composers, in many cases, forming a consortium of orchestras himself to fund the commissions.  In this capacity, he has worked with Avner Dorman, Chris Brubeck, George Tsontakis, John Luther Adams and many others. 

His latest work Symphony in Step features the ground-breaking dance company Step Afrika.  Premiered by the Anchorage Symphony in November of 2011, plans are already under way to tour this project internationally. 

As an arranger, his works have been played by almost every major symphony orchestra in America and many around the world including the Boston Pops, Atlanta Symphony, NY Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, China Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic and many others. He has arrangements in the Disney Symphonic library and his works have been conducted regularly by all of the major pops conductors including Marvin Halmisch, Peter Nero, Steven Reineke, Michael Krajewsky and others. 

Winner of Newsweek Magazine's Parents' Choice Award for his groundbreaking CD- ROM of Peter and the Wolf created in cooperation with IBM, he stands alone as the only American conductor to receive this prestigious award.

He first came to international attention when, while serving his first of five years as Assistant Conductor, 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.

Hr was featured in the internationally broadcast PBS documentary Soldier of Music (produced by Peter Gelb) 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.

He had the honor of being chosen to accompany Maestro Rostropovich again, once more conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, this time in Avery Fisher Hall Lincoln Center in a performance of Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante in celebration of the composer's birth. In December of 1992, he 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, he conducted a private concert for Pope John-Paul at the Vatican. The Pontiff awarded him with a medal for his achievements in music.

In 1995 he made his debut with New York City Opera (State Theater Lincoln Center) conducting The Magic Flute.

A passionate educator, he 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. He has also developed a multi-tiered, integrated "music in the classroom" program and regularly visits public schools in the areas where he serves as Music Director.  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.

He studied with Leonard Bernstein as a conducting fellow at Tanglewood in 1989 and privately with Otto Werner Mueller from 1988-1989. 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. He 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.

May 2012
Randall Craig Fleischer