RANDALL CRAIG FLEISCHER begins his 7th season as Music Director of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra (YSO). With three Music Director positions, a demanding guest conducting schedule, major awards and a career spanning four continents, Mr. 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, National Symphony, the symphonies of San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Utah and San Diego and the Chamber Orchestras of St. Paul and Philadelphia.
Mr. Fleischer is currently Music Director of three symphony orchestras – Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Anchorage and Youngstown. In June 2007 he made his conducting debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and appeared at the Český Krumlov International Music Festival numerous times.
Winner of Newsweek Magazine’s “Parent 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.
Randall Craig 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. In 1992, Fleischer conducted an ensemble of over 70 cellos, including YoYo Ma, and a 190-voice chorus in the Kennedy Awards tribute to Rostropovich and in 1993, Mr. Fleischer conducted a private concert for Pope John-Paul at the Vatican. In 1995, Mr. Fleischer made his debut with New York City Opera conducting The Magic Flute.
Active as a composer, Mr. Fleischer is a national leader in the area of symphony rock and world music fusion. In March 2006, Mr. Fleischer premiered his original composition, Triumph, which features traditional Navajo ceremonial songs and dances and received a commission to write a Native American fusion work combining indigenous music from Alaska, Hawaii and Massachusetts entitled Echoes that premiered September 2008. Mr. Fleisher’s Rock Fusion premiered in Youngstown in October 2011 followed by Rocktopia in 2012.
A passionate educator, Fleischer has co-authored several instructional pieces for children in collaboration with his wife, Heidi Joyce, which were premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra. Currently their children’s programs, Cool Concerts for Kids, have been performed with great success across the country.
Concert sponsorship assists the Youngstown Symphony Society to continue the region’s premier cultural asset. Sponsors receive identification in publicity and advertisements, on the Program page and in the DeYor Performing Arts Center Lobby the evening of the performance. Tickets to the sponsored concert are provided.
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1926: Michael Ficocelli organizes “The Little Symphony Orchestra,” composed of 12 members, all under the age of 16. Their first program is broadcast on WKBN radio.
1929: The orchestra’s first public concert is held. Carmine Ficocelli becomes the conductor when his brother Michael travels to Rome to further his musical studies.
1935: The Junior Chamber of Commerce becomes involved in the Orchestra and removes the word “Little” from the organizational name. The Youngstown Symphony Society is organized. With an increase in members, the orchestra performs a series of concerts in the spring at Stambaugh Auditorium. The Junior League later sponsors a series of Pop Concerts that are held at Idora Park and The Mansion on Logan Road.
Under the direction of George Madtes, a Women’s Committee is formed to promote interest in the Orchestra by introducing music education through children’s concerts. A youth group and music-appreciation classes for children and adults are conducted. The group is later reorganized as the Women’s Committee for Children’s Concerts (WCCC) later becoming an affiliate of the Youngstown Symphony Society.
1937: By the 1937 – 1938 season, 2,300 people are attending concerts at Stambaugh Auditorium.
1951: When the Ficocelli brothers retire after 25 years of devoted service, John Krueger, a 29-year-old composer and conductor, is hired. The Society is reorganized and the name of the orchestra is changed to “The Youngstown Philharmonic Orchestra.” The first of three concerts is held in December.
1952: Mr. Krueger creates the Youngstown Philharmonic Chorus.
1954: The Junior Orchestra is founded.
1965: Franz Bibo is appointed conductor and remains in that post for 12 seasons. The orchestra’s name is changed to “The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.” During his tenure, Mr. Bibo begins a successful series of fully staged, locally produced operas.
1969: Edward W. Powers Auditorium becomes the home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
1980: Peter Leonard is selected music director and conductor. He launches a series of pre-concert lectures that remain quite popular during his tenure.
1986: The Youngstown Symphony Society begins a pilot program to give free instruction in violin and viola to interested and qualified inner-city school students.
1987: With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Youngstown Symphony Society begins an incentive program to attract string students from nearby colleges to perform with the orchestra. Musical Director and Conductor David Effron is appointed.
1993: During the 1993 – 1994 season Children’s and Tiny Tot concerts are opened to the general public.
1996: Isaiah Jackson becomes the Orchestra’s seventh musical director and conductor. Storytyme in-school music program for preschool children begins in his first season. During Mr. Jackson’s tenure, the orchestra is involved in two commercial recordings: “Strings Attached,” with the rock group Glass Harp, and “Home for the Holidays” with the Joe Augustine Quartet.
2009: The Orchestra’s current music director, Randall Craig Fleischer assumes the position. The renowned conductor, composer and author continues to expand the orchestra’s appeal to ever-widening audiences.
Today: The Youngstown Symphony Society Board of Directors manages the Orchestra as well as the DeYor Performing Arts Center, including the Edward W. Powers Auditorium and the Ford Family Recital Hall. The concert season is composed of both the classical Masterworks Concert Series and Pops concerts. Additionally, Young People’s Concerts and in-school programs serve more than 10,000 children annually. The Society continues to sponsor special events throughout the year.