Randall Craig Fleischer
Maestro, Musical Arrangements, Co-Creator
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 world-renowned orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, China Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, the National Symphony, and many others. Just recently, he premiered his ground-breaking original composition, “Triumph,” which combines Navajo songs and dances into a full orchestral work. “Triumph” features a native flute solo which was played by R. Carlos Nakai. “Triumph” was fully choreographed and brought to life through traditional dance by the internationally renowned Jones Benally Family. “Triumph” received an extended standing ovation. Mr. Fleischer’s latest commission “Echoes” premiered with the Anchorage Symphony in October 2008, followed by an East Coast premiere at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Pioneering these new and growing genres for many years now, 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, and others. Fleischer’s rock fusion work “Rocktopia” done on collaboration with Rob Evan is currently in development with Live Nation. As a fervent advocate of new music, Mr. Fleischer has commissioned and conducted many world premieres and many works by living composers.
Randall Craig Fleischer has appeared as a guest conductor with many major US and international orchestras, including engagements with the Boston Pops, China Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Philly Pops, Moscow State Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles 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)
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 period of incredible artistic growth. One reviewer wrote that “[T]his sounds like a different symphony orchestra, and this season should be an exciting experience.“ (Arizona Daily Sun, 1998) Another reviewer stated,“The Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s music director was heartily affirmed by the extended standing ovation.” (Times Herald Record)
Mr. Fleischer first came to international attention when, at 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. Mr. Fleischer was featured in the PBS documentary “Soldier of Music” which documented Rostropovich’s return to the Soviet Union and was also featured on the “60 Minutes” segment about the event. “Soldier of Music” was later released on Sony Video.
“…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 later accompanied Maestro Rostropovich, again conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, this time in Avery Fisher Hall for a performance of Prokofiev’s “Sinfonia Concertante.” In December of 1992, Mr. Fleischer conducted an ensemble of more than 70 cellos, including YoYo Ma, and a 190 voice chorus in a tribute to Rostropovich, broadcast on CBS with then-President and Mrs. Bush in attendance. 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, ”[b]ut 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.”
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. Their children’s programs, “Cool Concerts for Kids” have been performed with great success by 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 National Symphony Orchestra. The piece was written for a narrator and orchestra and explores the history of the civil rights movement with excerpts of Dr. King’s speeches, narrated by Dr. King’s daughter, Yolanda King. The piece was broadcast on PBS in 1995.
Winner of Newsweek Magazine’s “Parent’s Choice Award” for his groundbreaking CD-ROM of “Peter and the Wolf”, Mr. Fleischer is the only American conductor to receive this prestigious award.
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 until 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, Riccardo Muti, Gustav Meier, and others.
Mr. Fleischer lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi and daughter Michaela. You can see Fleischer on tour with Rocktopia, the unbelievable genre-bending mix of classical music and classic rock hits. The first performance, in Hungary, was recorded and broadcast on PBS in 2016. Get your tickets to the world’s greatest classical and classic rock concert when it come to your city!