Randolph, David

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Conductor, radio host, and music educator David Randolph (1914-2010) was an active member of the New York classical music community, and served as musical director of the Randolph Singers, the Masterwork Chorus, and The St. Cecilia Chorus.

David Rosenberg was born in Manhattan in 1914 to Morris Rosenberg (born ca.1892) and Elsie Goodman (1893-1979). He changed his surname to Randolph shortly after graduating from high school. Randolph graduated from City College of New York with a bachelors degree in music in 1936, and in 1942 received a masters of arts degree from the Teacher's College at Columbia University. From 1943 to 1947, Randolph worked as a music specialist for the United States Office of War Information. During this time he also formed a professional chamber ensemble called the Randolph Singers that recorded and performed around New York and elsewhere until 1972. He began his 33 year radio career at WNYC as the host of "Music for the Connoisseur," later called "The David Randolph Concerts," and in 1947 wrote radio scripts for classical music programs on the Columbia Broadcasting System.

In 1948, Randolph married Mildred Greenberg (1913-2008), a member of the Randolph Singers and the executive coordinator for The St. Cecilia Chorus.

Randolph is best known as the conductor and musical director for the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, an amateur chorus based in New Jersey, and as the director of The St. Cecilia Chorus. He co-founded the Masterwork Chorus in 1955 and conducted the group until 1992. He led the St. Cecilia Chorus between 1965 and 2010. Over his career he conducted 173 complete performances of George Frideric Handel's Messiah. Both ensembles performed frequently at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and other prominent New York area venues.

In addition to performing, Randolph was a devoted music educator. He taught at Montclair State University, Fordham University, and The New School, among others, and lectured in academic institutions and concert halls around the country. Randolph was also involved with The Masterwork School, St. Cecilia Chorus Educational Outreach Program, and choral seminars at Mohonk Mountain House. In 1964 he published a music appreciation book entitled This Is Music: A Guide to the Pleasures of Listening . Randolph received honorary doctorates from the College of Staten Island, and Saint Peter's College, New Jersey, and the City College of New York awarded him the Townsend Harris Medal for outstanding achievements and distinguished service to the city. Randolph died in Manhattan on May 12, 2010.

From the guide to the David Randolph papers, 1943-2010, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

The St. Cecilia Chorus is one of the finest performing choirs in New York City . The Chorus was founded in 1906 as a women's chorus by Metropolitan Opera coach Victor Harris, who served as its conductor until 1936. In 1922 The St. Cecilia Chorus participated in the first New York performances of Mahler's Third Symphony, with the Philharmonic Society of New York under Willem Mengelberg . These performances were held in the old Metropolitan Opera House and repeated in Carnegie Hall. Leon Barzin directed the chorus through the 1936-1937 season, after which Willard Sektberg took over until 1942. Hugh Ross became conductor in 1942, to be suceeded in the late 1950s by David L. Buttolph . In 1964, The St. Cecilia Chorus became a chorus of mixed voices. Then, in 1965, David Randolph became music director, and in 1969 the Chorus had its first concert in Carnegie Hall.

In addition to its now traditional twice-yearly Carnegie Hall concerts, some of which were broadcast live on WNYC Radio, the Chorus has appeared in other venues, including Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, The Riverside Church, St. Bartholomew's Church, St. George's Church, and The Church of the Heavenly Rest.

From the guide to the St. Cecilia Chorus collection of sound recordings, [sound recording], 1967-, (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf David Randolph papers, 1943-2010 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn Sir, Michael Redgrave, Archive, 1890-1996 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
referencedIn Jeffry, Alix, 1929-1993. Photographs, 1952-1974 Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf St. Cecilia Chorus collection of sound recordings, [sound recording], 1967- The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Choral conductors--United States
Choirs (Music)
Occupation
Conductors (Music)
Activity

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