About the Hudson Valley Philharmonic
In 1932, four Poughkeepsie businessmen who were also dedicated string players–George Hagstrom, Sydney Fleishman, Charles T. Miller and Dr. Charles Hoffman formed the nucleus of local musicians that eventually evolved into the Dutchess County Philharmonic Orchestra. With Hagstrom as its first conductor, the orchestra was made up of amateurs and professionals alike, plus a number of music students from surrounding high schools. In 1934, local backing enabled the DCPO to perform its first series of public concerts. By the 1940s, it had grown to 93 musicians. DCPO repertoire was largely classical, including some contemporary music and works by local composers.
In 1945, George Hagstrom stepped down as music director handing the baton over to Ole Windingstad, a European-trained conductor who came from the Bergen Symphony in Norway and the New Orleans Symphony. On October 29, 1953 under the direction of Maestro Windingstad, the orchestra presented a program of two Norwegian composers, Grieg and Sparre-Olsen at New York’s Carnegie Hall. It was also during Maestro Windingstad’s tenure that the orchestra presented Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf narrated by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
By 1959, Claude Monteux, world-class flutist and son of legendary conductor Pierre Monteux, had elevated the orchestra to a fully professional ensemble renamed the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. Under his baton, the HVP became a prestigious regional orchestra serving Dutchess, Ulster , Orange , Rockland and Columbia counties. The Young People’s Concerts program we offer today is a direct descendent of the school-day concerts introduced by Maestro Monteux.
Imre Pallo, formerly Director of the Deutsche Opera of the Rhein/Germany and New York City Opera conductor, succeeded Maestro Monteux as Music Director in 1976. Maestro Pallo introduced the first Hudson Valley Philharmonic opera series in 1978, and in 1979 established a pops series modeled after the successful Boston Pops.
Randall Craig Fleischer became the third Music Director of the HVP during the orchestra’s 1992 season, its thirty-third year. Under the leadership of Maestro Fleischer, the orchestra evolved into one of the region’s major performing arts and educational assets. As has been widely reported, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Society, Inc. sustained a financial crisis in 1998. To save this forty-year old cultural cornerstone of our community, three regional philanthropic foundations stated their willingness to commit substantial support provided the Bardavon would step in to reorganize and reinstate the orchestra. Generous grants from The Dyson Foundation, the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, the McCann Foundation and the NYS Legislature through the efforts of Senator Stephen Saland enabled the Bardavon to purchase the assets and name of the HVP. On June 3, 1999 the Hudson Valley Philharmonic officially became a Bardavon subsidiary.
The Bardavon’s main challenge for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic is developing new audiences for classical music. Toward meeting this challenge, and equally important in its own right, is the continuing evolution of the HVP Young People’s Concerts/Classroom to Concert program, which was redesigned by a Juilliard/NY Philharmonic teaching artist in 1999. Each year, this program provides thousands of regional school children with thoroughly enjoyable hands-on experiences with superb music while also building symphony audiences of tomorrow.
Today, a full season of HVP Symphony Concerts Series performances can be enjoyed in an elegant setting with superb acoustics at the Bardavon and our “second stage”, the Ulster Performing Arts Center/Broadway Theater. The orchestra also makes regular guest appearances at festival venues, including: SUNY/New Paltz PianoSummer, the Bowdoin Park pavilion of Dutchess County , and Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts. Here’s to a brilliant future for the region’s premier orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic!
Randall Craig Fleischer
The dynamic, engaging music director of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic is a leading force in the classical music scene all over the United States . His charismatic personality and contagious love of music ignite orchestral brilliance in every concert he conducts.
Mr. Fleischer has an active guest conducting career with many major orchestras in the United States and internationally including repeat engagements with the Israel Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Pops, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Houston Symphony, and others. Additionally, Mr. Fleischer is currently music director of the Anchorage Symphony and Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
Active as a composer, Mr. Fleischer is a national leader in the area of symphonic rock and world music fusion. Pioneering these new and growing genres for more than twenty years now, he has worked with artists such as John Densmore (The Doors), Natalie Merchant, Blondie, Ani DiFranco, John Cale (Velvet Underground) Garth Hudson (The Band), and Kenny Rogers. Mr. Fleischer’s arrangements and orchestral works have been performed by orchestras world wide.
Mr. Fleischer has composed several new works focusing on the interrelationship of Native peoples music and culture and the symphonic realm. He has collaborated with Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai, Burning Sky, The Hawk Project,and The Benaly Family . Mr. Fleischer’s work,” Triumph”, was premiered in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2005. His work“Echoes”, was premiered at the Washington , D.C. in November of 2008 at the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian).
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.
A passionate educator, Fleischer has co-authored several instructional pieces for children in collaboration with his wife, comedian Heidi Joyce. 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 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 for Dr. King’s daughter, Yolanda King. This piece was broadcast on PBS in February of 1995.
In 1995 Mr. Fleischer made his debut with New York City Opera conducting “The Magic Flute. Mr. Fleischer’s operatic repertoire includes productions of La Boheme, Turandot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, La Traviata and 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.. 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.
Mr. Fleischer again had the honor of being chosen to accompany Maestro Rostropovich, once more conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, this time in Avery Fisher Hall in a performance of Prokofiev’s “Sinfonia Concertante” in celebration of the composer’s birth. 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.
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.
Carole Cowan, (Concert Master)
Marka Young, (Assistant Concert Master)
Betty Jean Hagen, (Principal)
Shenghua Hu (Assistant Principal)
Valentina Charlap-Evans, ( Principal)
Olivia Chew (Assistant Principal)
Susan Seligman, (Principal)
Erica Pickhardt, (Assistant Principal)
Phillip Helm, (Principal)
Richard Sosinsky, (Assistant Principal)
Marcia Gates, (Principal)
Keisuke Ikuma, (Principal)
Daniel Spitzer, (Principal)
Jeffrey Marchand, (Principal)
Nicholas Caluori, (Principal)
Terry Szor, (Principal)
Bradley Ward, (Principal)
Jonathan Hill Principal
Charles Barbour, (Principal)
Kyle Ritenauer, (Principal)
Yalin Chi (Prinicpal)
Frances Duffy, Principal
Young Uck Kim
Anne Akiko Meyers
R. Carlos Nakai
Lara St. John
String sections subject to rotation.