David Randolph (December 21, 1914 – May 12, 2010) was an American conductor, music educator and radio host. He is best known as the music director from 1965 through 2010 of the St. Cecilia Chorus (known now as The Cecilia Chorus of New York) and as the host of Music for the Connoisseur, later known as The David Randolph Concerts, a WNYC classical music radio program nationally syndicated in the United States.For decades, he made it possible for amateur singers to master the great works of the choral-orchestral repertoire and to perform in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. His choruses also performed in numerous venues in the New York metropolitan area. He enlightened the general public, both music lovers and non-music lovers, through his ability to present the fundamentals of music in lay terms for all to understand. He was Professor of Music at several N.Y. and N.J. universities, and shared his knowledge and wisdom nationally on radio and television. The author and neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote of him: His passion for the every aspect of the music was evident. He often gave historical glosses on a particular instrument or musical theme, and he never omitted to say that Handel drew much of his most beloved “religious” music from the bawdy Italian love songs of his time. There was no such thing as “religious” music, Randolph felt, any more than there was “military” music or “love” music; there was only music put to different uses, in different contexts. This was a point which he brought out with great eloquence in his beautiful book, This Is Music: A Guide to the Pleasure of Listening, and he would often mention it before a performance of his annual Christmas Oratorio or the great Passions he conducted at Easter. He would mention it, too, when conducting his favorite Requiem Masses by Brahms, Verdi, or Berlioz—all of whom, he would remind the audience, were atheists (as he himself was). The religious imagination, he felt, was a most precious part of the human spirit, but he was convinced that it did not require particular religious beliefs, or indeed any religious belief.
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