Randolph music professor Randall Speer has been selected for an exclusive opportunity to conduct a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City in spring 2019.
Speer will conduct two settings of Te Deum—one by French Baroque composer Marc Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704), the other by the British contemporary composer John Rutter (b. 1945) as part of MidAmerica Production’s 2019 Carnegie concert season. The performance is scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, and is slated to feature a festival chorus with professional orchestra and soloists.
This is the second time Speer has been invited to Carnegie Hall. In 2012, he conducted another Easter Sunday performance there by the Randolph College Chorale. The group performed Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, and was later invited to perform at the Festival of the Aegean in summer 2013.
In the music world, Speer said being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall is similar to playing a halftime show at the Super Bowl.
“The first time that I was invited, it was one of those things that I didn’t even dare dream about—I figured it was something that would never, ever happen,” Speer said. “The reality of walking onto that stage, even in rehearsal and certainly the night of the performance, was near overwhelming. Just the significance of standing on that spot that [Leonard] Bernstein and others had conducted from was inspiring and truly amazing.
“To be able to do it again, I can’t imagine that feeling is really going to lessen,” Speer added. “I don’t think it’s even the kind of thing someone can really get used to, so to have this opportunity again is very, very exciting.”
This summer, Speer will travel to Bulgaria with a group of Randolph music students who will participate in the prestigious Varna International Opera Academy. He hopes his students are able to accompany him to Carnegie Hall next year as well.
“Obviously this is a big deal for me, professionally, but every time I’ve gotten one of these remarkable opportunities, I try and turn that around and extend the opportunity to my students,” Speer said. “Just walking up on that stage, whether you fully understand the significance of it or not, it’s an awe-inspiring place. Many of my students who went in 2012 said ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.’”
In addition to his work with Randolph’s musical ensembles, Speer has led choral and orchestral performances in the United States and Europe with a variety of ensembles including the Mississippi Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, the Vidin Philharmonic Orchestra (Bulgaria), and the Varna Symphony Orchestra (Bulgaria). An alumnus of the internationally acclaimed Dale Warland Singers, he served in Minnesota as founder and director of the critically acclaimed vocal chamber ensemble Voce Magna, and the Voce Magna Symphonic Chorus.