YSO plans tribute to late conductor

Members of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will play a free outdoor concert on Sunday to pay tribute to conductor Randall Craig Fleischer, who died in August.

It isn’t the tribute they would like to do.

Patricia Syak, president of the Youngstown Symphony Society, said, “A number of members of the orchestra and members of the board wanted to see us do something in tribute to Randy. We were hoping we could do this during one of our scheduled concerts, but we didn’t want too much time to go by.”

Current COVID-19 directives on performing arts venues make it economically unfeasible for the orchestra to perform inside Powers Auditorium or Ford Family Recital Hall. The first two concerts of the 2020-21 season, Sept. 17 and Oct. 17, have been canceled, and performances for its Stained Glass concert series (featuring orchestra members performing at churches and other area venues) have been canceled for the rest of the year.

Instead, about 12 to 15 members of the orchestra’s string section will play a short concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Overture Garden at DeYor Performing Arts Center, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown.

“The string members of the orchestra are going to get together this Sunday, social distancing and with masks, and play a short tribute concert to Randy,” Syak said. “We’re inviting anybody in the community who’d like to come to DeYor to bring their lawn chairs and listen to the string members of the orchestra.”

The performance will be recorded and posted on the orchestra’s social media accounts.

While the current restrictions make it difficult for the orchestra to perform, they also make it difficult for the board to start its search for a replacement to Fleischer, who died unexpectedly at his home in Los Angeles on Aug. 19 at the age of 61.

“The biggest problem right now, as part of a search, the search committee would visit sites where potential candidates would be conducting an orchestra, and we would invite our finalists to come to Youngstown and conduct our orchestra,” Syak said. “Neither of those things are happening right now.”



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