With three Music Director positions, arrangements and compositions played around the world, 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 engagements with the Boston Pops, China Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Festival Cesky Krumov (Czech Republic) 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, Youngstown Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Anchorage Symphony, Mr. Fleischer has led each orchestra through a dramatic period of artistic growth and exploration, demonstrating his abilities as a proven orchestra builder and innovator. “…This sounds like a different symphony orchestra, and this season should be an exciting experience.“ Arizona Daily Sun 1998. “The HVP’s music director was heartily affirmed by the extended standing ovation.”
Active as a composer and arranger, Mr. Fleischer is a national leader in the area of symphonic rock and world music fusion. His works and arrangements have been played by many major orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, China Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony and many others. Fleischer’s ground-breaking Native American fusion work ECHOES was featured in an article in Symphony Magazine. ECHOES was premiered by the Anchorage Symphony in October, 2008, followed by an East Coast premiere at the National Museum of the American Indian; Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Fleischer’s work “Symphony in Step” written for the dance company “Step Afrika” was premiered by the Anchorage Symphony and performed at the Atlas Theater in D.C.
Pioneering rock and world music fusion since the late 1980’s, Fleischer 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, Chris Baron (Spin Doctors) and Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai, Burning Sky, The Hawk Project, The Benaly Family, Step Afrika and others. As a fervent advocate of new music, Mr. Fleischer has commissioned and conducted many world premieres and many works by living composers including Chris Brubeck, Kenji Bunch, George Tsontakis, Joan Tower, John Corigliano, Eric Ewazen, Avner Dorman, Chris Theofanidis, John Luther Adams and many others.
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.
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.” 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.”
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 Journeywith 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.
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. In May of 2015, Fleischer will receive an honorary doctorate from Youngstown State University.
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.
Randall Fleischer will perform Rock on! The Best Symphonic Rock Ever on February 23 & 24, 2018