World renowned symphonic conductor Randall Craig Fleischer died suddenly and unexpectedly on Aug. 19, 2020, at his home in Los Angeles at age 61. Known to many as “Monstro,” Randy was born on March 14, 1959, in Canton, to Frank and the late Barbara Fleischer (nee Raikin). Randy’s loving wife of 38 years, writer/performer Heidi Joyce (nee Sicherman) a native Clevelander, his beloved 20-year-old daughter, Michaela Peri Fleischer, and his two brothers, Richard and James, survive him.
Randy graduated from the Oberlin College Conservatory in 1981, and from Indiana University’s Graduate School of Music in 1985. Following a conducting fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he studied under Leonard Bernstein, Randy first came to international attention in 1989 as the associate conductor of the National Symphony, conducting the Dvorak Cello Concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich’s triumphant return from exile to Russia.
More recently, Randy proudly co-created and conducted “Rocktopia,” a culmination of Randy’s lifelong fascination with the fusion of rock with symphonic music, finding the unexpected commonalities between Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart, with the Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. “Rocktopia” ran on Broadway in 2018 and was broadcast on PBS. His longtime experience in such varied musical worlds led him to working with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Olga Kern, Natalie Merchant, Blondie, Dee Snider, Pat Monahan, Idina Menzel and Kenny Rogers.
Other prominent works by Maestro Fleischer include the Native American symphonic fusion commission, “Echoes,” presented at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., “Symphony in Step” for StepAfrika, and the tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, “Spiritual Journey” written with wife, Heidi, and broadcast on PBS.
Randy was music director of the Anchorage Symphony, the Youngstown Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Flagstaff Symphony. He was a guest conductor with major orchestras around the world including the Israel, Hong Kong, Beijing, Moscow and Los Angeles Philharmonics; the Cleveland, San Francisco, Utah, San Diego and Seattle Symphony orchestras; the Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia and St. Paul, the Boston Pops, New York City Opera, the Hollywood Bowl and a private concert for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
His colleagues cherished his generous, inspiring, and encouraging spirit. He made it possible for everyone to shine. As the pandemic continued, Randy ached to get back to making live music with his orchestras.
Dynamic, funny, energetic and creative, he was a remarkable musician who charmed audiences and inspired musicians of all ages.
Randy was a beloved and devoted husband, friend, and partner to his wife and college sweetheart, Heidi. They shared the joy of working together on stages across the country performing Young People’s Concerts they co-created.
A devoted homeschooling parent, Randy joyously played the djembe for Heidi’s Orff Schulwerk and Theatre Lab classes and hung and ran lights for her students’ performances. With his quick, bright smile, warmth, and genuine connection, Randy could often be found leading kickball at the community park day and throwing epic parties with his family. A model father and mensch, Randy supported interests of his adored daughter, Michaela, with endless love and delight.
Michaela’s fondest memories of her dad include drawing murals and making up stories about “Captain Underpants” when she was three, as well as making their famous original spaghetti sauce as a teen.
When he wasn’t in tails on a podium, Randy could be found body-surfing with Michaela at Laguna Beach in California, walking behind the Disneyland parade to the very end, making candy parties for his family in the
hotel room, working out with his wife, Heidi, then
undoing it with chocolate or cheese fries and falling asleep on the couch. While Randy was widely
acknowledged for his musical compositions, he was less well-known for his work as a poet. His epic opuses include thousands of poems to his wife and daughter penned each time he left for the airport and taped to the bathroom mirror.
Randy would want to be remembered as an
incredibly loving and devoted husband and father, and as a creative artist and visionary who brought people together through music. Trustworthy, sensitive and steadfast, Randy was beloved by all who knew him, above all, his wife and daughter who have lost the most caring and wonderful husband and father anyone could ever imagine. All are richer for having shared in Randy’s full, though too brief, life of love, music, and joy.
Graveside services were held Sept. 17. 2020, at Forest Lawn Cemetery. A memorial fund for underprivileged young musicians is being established in his honor at each of his three symphony orchestras.
For more information, please contact his wife, Heidi, at firstname.lastname@example.org.