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World-Renowned Composer Rindfleisch Celebrates 25 Years at CSU

Rindfleisch celebrates 25 years at CSU with Faculty Recital, Featuring Renowned String Faculty, Special GuestsAndrew Rindfleisch, Ph.D. celebrates 25 years at CSU with Faculty Recital, Featuring Renowned String Faculty, Special Guests

His music has been hailed by The Boston Globe for “drama, intensity and variety.” His musical career (and the praise earned for it) is nothing short of extraordinary—spanning professional facets as conductor, pianist, vocalist, record producer, radio show host, educator, concert organizer and more.

As a composer, Andrew Rindfleisch, Ph.D. has created hundreds of works for the concert hall, including solo, chamber, vocal, choral, orchestral, brass and wind music. His commitment to all manner of composition and performance has taken him squarely through jazz and improvisation, leading to recognition and acclaim as “a leading composer of his generation.”

It’s not hyperbole: Dr. Rindfleisch has been awarded many of the most prestigious honors that can be given in American culture—including the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Aaron Copland Award. More than 35 additional prizes and awards have followed, including those from the Library of Congress, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Cleveland Arts Prize.

Hey, don’t look now, but you might have passed the internationally active Dr. Rindfleisch on the stairs or shared an elevator with him. The mild-mannered composition professor, director of the Cleveland Contemporary Players and Coordinator of the Music Composition Program at Cleveland State University isn’t one to draw attention to himself. He lets his musical output do the talking.

Come Wednesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Drinko Recital Hall in CSU’s Music and Communication Building, that output will be on full display as Dr. Rindfleisch celebrates 25 years at CSU with his Faculty Recital, featuring renowned string faculty of the ENCORE Chamber Music Institute, along with members of Zeitgeist, and Ars Futura Ensemble.

Sweet Serendipity

“This will be my first full length faculty recital in 25 years here,” said Dr. Rindfleisch in a recent interview.

“I've had a lot of performances and over half of my premieres these last 25 years at CSU. But a full-length concert just of my music? I have sort of shied away from that in the past, as it can be a lot of work to find the artists to come in—especially if you want to explore a spectrum of different kinds of pieces.”

But this year was very different from the past quarter-century, due in large part to Dr. Rindfleisch serving as composer-in-residence with the ENCORE during the summer; being on sabbatical from the university, and, while fulfilling some commissioned work, learning that he and his wife were expecting.

Rindfleisch celebrates 25 years at CSU with Faculty Recital, Featuring Renowned String Faculty, Special Guests“ENCORE is a string institute primarily, and the artistic director— Jinjoo Cho, who is a renowned violinist—commissioned a new piece from me and it went over really well,” said Dr. Rindfleisch, who holds degrees from Harvard University (Ph.D.), the New England Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Bachelor of Music).

“It is very expensive to bring people in from out of town independently, but faculty for ENCORE comes from all over for that summer thing—they all fly in and, as it happened, they were coming back for a week in December to do a gala event for their chamber music festival,” he added with a smile.

“It didn't really dawn on me to do a recital like until everything became serendipitous, a confluence of people and timing. I just asked them if they would do a recital of my music when those same players returned,” he said. “The response was quite positive. They were excited at the chance to do that.”

Essentially “no better time than the present” meets “time marches on” meets “planets aligning.”

The Points on the Planet Align as Well

Dr. Rindfleisch recently received performances of his music at the National Palace in Lisbon, Portugal, the European Gallery Festival in Ljublijana, Slovenia, the Hochschule in Cologne, Germany, the Eastman School of Music, the University of South Florida, Ball State University, Kent State University, Lawrence Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, with the New Amsterdam Singers in New York City, and with the Valley Winds in Amherst, MA.

He received three world premieres of his music for brass ensembles performed and recorded for future commercial release by musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra collaborating with the renowned Meridian Arts Ensemble. In addition, Dr. Rindfleisch was named Music Director for the opera “Moon in the Mirror” earlier this year, with sold out performances at the Blue Gallery in New York City in September.

Rindfleisch celebrates 25 years at CSU with Faculty Recital, Featuring Renowned String Faculty, Special GuestsSo, with so much original music to choose from, what can music aficionados expect to hear Wednesday?

“The lion’s share of will be string music, but I also have one of my oldest collaborators, one of the great clarinetists that I've ever worked with who lives in Minneapolis—Pat O'Keefe, clarinet/bass clarinet for Zeitgeist—is going to fly in to do a couple of my pieces as well,” said Dr. Rindfleisch.

“We’ll have Shuai Wang, pianist from Ars Futura Ensemble as well, and again, that serendipity of people being available who have recently done some of my music. I feel this will make this a really successful event,” Dr. Rindfleisch added with a smile. “The only issue is the time-honored tradition of only having two days to rehearse before the event, but it’ll all come together.”

ENCORE Chamber Music Institute players for the Wednesday, December 14 recital will include Jinjoo Cho (violin); Brenden Shea (violin); Eric Wong (cellist). Max Geissler and Verona String Quartet (in residence at the Oberlin Conservatory) featuring Jonathan Ong (violin); Dorothy Ro (violin); Abigail Rojansky (viola) and Jonathan Dormand (cello) will also play roles in the performance.

As for how his time at CSU and the arrival of a new baby might inspire and influence future works? Dr. Rindfleisch remains pragmatic:

“Perhaps not in an entirely overt way, but every step is inspired from the previous one and so, it’s hard to say where my compositions will go from here. This campus has grown and changed a lot in 25 years and our baby will, too,” he finalized.

“Those influences will surely work their way in there somehow, just as being present for life does.”

Celebrating his 25th year at Cleveland State University, Dr. Rindfleisch will present a faculty recital Wednesday, 12/14 @ 7:30pm in Drinko Recital Hall at CSU. Featuring the string faculty of the ENCORE Chamber Music Institute with violinist Jinjoo Cho, the Verona String Quartet, Members of the Cavani Quartet and Cleveland Orchestra, with special guests Pat O’Keefe (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Shuai Wang (piano). Works will include his most recent piece “Phantasmagoria” for string octet, “The Lunatic” for bass clarinet, and much more.