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David Randolph (Conductor)

Born: December 21, 1914 - New York City, New York, USA
Died: May 12, 2010 - Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

The American conductor and teacher, David Randolph, received his B.S. from the College of the City of New York, where he planned to be a physicist until meeting up with higher mathematics. Having scored in the 98th percentile on a musical aptitude test, he changed his major to music, which had always been one of his loves. He received his B.S. in 1936, and proceeded to get his Master of Arts degree at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1941.

From 1943 to 1947 David Randolph was a Music Specialist (assistant director) for the United States Office of War Information. In 1947 he became the Music Annotator for the Columbia Broadcasting System, writing the broadcast scripts for concerts by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and all other classical music presentations on the network. In 1946, he began a series of weekly broadcasts called "Music for the Connoisseur," later known as "The David Randolph Concerts," on New York City's radio station WNYC. For his fourth broadcast, on July 23, 1946, he surveyed the subject of "Humor in Music," thus "inventing" the type of radio broadcast devoted to a single musical subject with commentary. The broadcasts were later heard nationwide on the 72-station network of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. These broadcasts, which won four Ohio State University Awards as "The best programs of music and commentary in the nation," continued for 33 years and resulted in invitations from 23 publishers to write a book. His book, This Is Music, was described by The New York Times as "One of the Best of the Year." He also edited The David Randolph Madrigal Series.

In 1943 David Randolph organised his own five-voiced madrigal group, The Randolph Singers, which he conducted until 1972. They toured, gave concerts in Town Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Recital Hall, made many recordings, and was the subject of a full two-hour "Today" show on NBC-TV. In 1948, Randolph married the contralto of the group, Mildred Greenberg, who can be seen in the center box at all of his Carnegie Hall concerts. He was the host of the program "Lincoln Center Spotlight," heard weekly on radio station WQXR; host for "Young Audiences," a series of 39 programs on the CBS Television network; and appeared as a guest on the Metropolitan Opera Intermission broadcasts. He has been a regular guest critic on WQXR's "First Hearing."

David Randolph was the conductor of the original Masterwork Chorus & Orchestra from its founding in 1955 until his resignation on January 1, 1993. With them, he developed a specialty as a conductor of George Frideric Handel's Messiah. His much-acclaimed interpretation of that beloved masterpiece became a seasonal tradition in New York City, eventually resulting in as many as seven sold-out performances a season and a world record. Since 1965 he has been the conductor of The St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra. From 1981 he also led the Masterwork Chamber Orchestra. His 1997 Carnegie Hall performances with The St. Cecilia Chorus and Orchestra brought that record number to 170 performances.

David Randolph taught conducting at the Dalcroze School (1947-1950), was professor of music at the State University of New York College at New Paltz (1970-1972), at Fordham University (1972-1973), and at Montclair State College (from 1973).


Source: St. Cecilia Chorus & Orchestra Website; NY Times obituary (May 14, 2010)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2007, July 2010)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




David Randolph


BWV 245

Links to other Sites

The St. Cecilia Chorus - Our Conductor: David Randolph
David Randolph - Conductor (AIM)

David Randolph, Conductor of Many Fleet ‘Messiahs,’ Dies at 95 (NY Times)


David Randolph: This Is Music: A Guide to the Pleasures of Listening (re-published by Creative Arts Book Company, 1997). Buy this book at:

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