(WKBN) – Wednesday night, Randall Craig Fleischer, conductor of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, unexpectedly passed away at his home in Los Angeles.
He was 61 years old and from the Canton area.
His wife said he was fine all day, but then told her he wasn’t feeling well and a half-hour later, she found him dead.
So far there’s no cause of death, but an autopsy is planned.
Fleischer was introduced as the new conductor of the Youngstown Symphony in October 2006. He began conducting in the 2007 season.
In 2011, First News Anchor Stan Boney spent several days following Fleischer, noting how he walked with a confident stride and how his still mostly dark hair made him look younger than the 52 he was at the time. He was high energy — always moving, always thinking.
“But controlled. I mean, he’ll do a two and a half hour rehearsal and a two-hour concert and he is absolutely in command of the situation the whole time,” a 2011 member of his orchestra once said.
Just yesterday, 10 or so hours before Fleischer died passed, Boney interviewed him about the Youngstown Symphony’s latest event, the DeYor Livestream Gala. The fundraiser is still scheduled for Saturday evening. The musicians are working on a way to honor their conductor.
Patricia Syak is president of the Youngstown Symphony. She too had a Zoom meeting with Fleischer on Wednesday.
“He showed no signs of an illness at that time, but apparently after our meeting, sometime after our meeting, his wife found him on the floor. He had passed,” Syak said.
“The entire arts community is shocked,” said Lou Zona.
Zona runs the Butler Institute of American Art. He knew Fleischer well and worked with him on several projects.
“A wonderful person in our community, an amazing talent. We’re going to miss Randall Fleischer big time,” Zona said.
What may have been Fleischer’s greatest accomplishment was the composing of Rocktopia, a mixture of classical music with Rock ‘n Roll that debuted in Youngstown and later ran for six weeks on Broadway.
“Rock out with Rocktopia. I want them to be moved. I want them to tell their friends about it and I want them to come back,” Fleischer had said about the show.
Fleischer had a passion for music, a passion for conducting and though he didn’t live in Youngstown, a passion for that too.
He was also the director of the Anchorage Symphony and Hudson Valley Philharmonic.