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After completing his tenure as Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., RANDALL CRAIG FLEISCHER is currently Music Director of the Hudson Valley Philhar-monic in Hudson Valley, New York; Music Director of the Anchorage Sym-phony Orchestra; and Artistic Director/Principal Conductor of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Fleischer's recent guest conducting schedule has included return engagements with the Israel Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, and the San Jose Symphony among others. Last season marked Fleischer's debut with the Detroit Symphony. He made his New York City Opera debut conducting The Magic Flute and The Mikado during the 1995/96 season.
Fleischer first came to international attention when, during the National Symphony Orchestra's 1990 tour of Japan and the U.S.S.R., he led Dvorák's Cello Concerto with then-Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist. This was the first time Rostropovich had played the cello in Russia since his forced exile in 1972. Fleischer was featured in the PBS documentary Soldier of Music, broadcast internationally, which documented Rostropovich's return to the Soviet Union. In December 1992, Fleischer conducted an ensemble of over 70 cellos, including Yo-Yo Ma, and a 190-voice chorus in a tribute to Rostropovich which was televised nationally on CBS as part of the Kennedy Center Honors Gala.
As a music director, Fleischer has shifted the direction of each orchestra to focus more on education. Pre-concert lectures, open rehearsals, musical scholarship funds for underprivileged children, more varied and contemporary programming, and an entirely experimental and exploratory series are just a few of the programs he has instituted. In addition, he has created a cooperative recording venture with IBM and the Hudson Valley Philhar-monic to produce an interactive CD-ROM of Peter and the Wolf featuring Tony Randall as narrator, which received Newsweek's "Parent's Choice" award.
As a composer, Fleischer is a leading exponent of symphonic-rock fusion. He has worked with artists such as Natalie Merchant, Ani DiFranco, John Hall (Orleans), and Garth Hudson (The Band) and is currently working on projects with 10,000 Maniacs, Deborah Harry (Blondie), and others.
With comedian Heidi Joyce, Fleischer has co-authored several pieces for children that were premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, including three rap pieces for orchestra. His children's programs, entitled "Cool Concerts for Kids," have been performed by symphony orchestras around the country. In January of 1991, Joyce and 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 by Yolanda King (Dr. King's daughter).
Fleischer was a conducting fellow at Tanglewood in 1989 and the Assistant Conductor of the American Symphony in New York City from 1986 to 1989. While working toward his Master of Music degree at the Indiana University School of Music, he was Chorus Master of the Indiana University Opera Theater from 1983 to 1985. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Fleischer has studied conducting privately with Otto-Werner Mueller and in master classes with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, and others.