Cool Concerts for Kids is the outgrowth of a long-time collaboration between comedian Heidi Joyce and conductor Randall Craig Fleischer. It began in 1990 when Fleischer was asked to create a Young People's Concert for the National Symphony, where he was Associate Conductor.  He and Joyce put their heads together and conceived of a new kind of youth performance that utilized a fresh contemporary approach to teaching classical music to kids. Joyce and Fleischer wondered, "What would happen if a hip comedian tried to explain traditionally serious music to kids?" The resulting programs were an instant success with orchestras, teachers, and kids alike. Orchestras around the country have called these "the best young people's concerts we've ever had" and national education experts have said these were "the best educational programs at the Kennedy Center." Consistently sold out, these programs have tripled Young People's Concerts series due to audience demand.
Fun, funny, interactive, innovative, and altogether cool, these programs get kids excited about symphonic music!

Be a hero! Book Cool Concerts today



Focus on rhythm!

This funky, energetic program explores rhythm, pulse, tempo and meter, building fun relationships between rhythm in music and the rhythm in daily life. Full of laughter and audience participation, the program concludes with an "audience rhythm symphony" where kids use their bodies as percussion instruments.  It features the popular "Rhythm Rap," a symphonic rap piece by Joyce/Fleischer.


Khachaturian: Sabre Dance

Joyce/Fleischer: Rhythm Rap

J. Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz (Excerpt)

Beethoven: Fifth Symphony (First Movement)

Brahms: Hungarian Dance, #6

Gliere: Russian Sailors Dance

Gerald and Peter Jackson: Turn The Beat Around

Shostakovich: Interlude from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk


Focus on counterpoint!

Fugues and rounds abound in this exciting and rich musical tapestry. From Bach to the future, there is plenty of exposure to substantial 20th-century music, including works by Hindemith, Ives, and Britten, as well as a "surround-sound" opener by Monteverdi. Colorfully contrapuntal, the program's finale includes an audience participation counterpoint symphony.


Monteverdi: Overture to Orfeo

Joyce/Fleischer: Round The Orchestra

Bach/Stokowski: Little Fugue in G Minor

Hindemith: Fugue from Symphonic Metamorphosis

Joyce/Fleischer: Sing A Song of Counterpoint

Britten: Final Fugue from Guide To The Orchestra


Focus on humor in music

How funny can a symphony concert be? That's the idea behind this fun and lively program which highlights the use of humor in symphonic music. With lots of surprises and audience participation, this program ends with the audience and orchestra together creating a "silly symphony" of sounds and music.


Kabalevsky: Comedian's Galop

Ellis/Chase, arr. Joyce/Fleischer: The Name Game

Haydn: Surprise Symphony

Cailliet: Variations on Pop Goes The Weasel

Ibert: Finale from Divertissement

Ibert: Parade from Divertissement

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody #2

Sherman/Sherman, arr. Lowden: Supercalifragilistic

Bernstein: Candide Overture



Current Music Director of the Youngstown Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Anchorage Symphony, Mr. Fleischer first came to international attention when he conducted Mstislav Rostropovich's return to Russia while Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Guest conducting engagements include the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony and New York City Opera. Fleischer has been recognized by Symphony Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, 60 Minutes, PBS and other national publications and broadcasts. As a composer and arranger, his works have been played by major orchestras and his arrangements are currently featured on releases by Hollywood Records and Rykodisc. Active in the area of rock and world fusion, Fleischer has written, arranged, or conducted for major artists like Natalie Merchant, Blondie, John Densmore (The Doors), and Chris Botti. His recording of Peter and the Wolf on CD-ROM won Newsweek's Parents' Choice Award. 


Seen on Everybody Loves Raymond's Ray Day on CBS, Heidi is a nationally recognized stand-up comedian.  She is also the creator, host, and executive producer of Stand Up Against Domestic Violence with two double CD sets available internationally at all major music stores and online at Recently the opening act for Melissa Manchester in Las Vegas, she has also performed with Louie Anderson, Carol Leifer, Damon Wayans, Richard Jeni, and others and hosted the Marshall's Women In Comedy Festival night at the LA Improv. She was pleased to be cast in the leading role in the international company of Cats as well as appearing in the revival of Jerome Kern's Sally on Broadway. Named one of the top comics of "Generation X" by Just For Laughs Magazine, she was also featured in the fall issues of Ms. magazine and Woman's Own Magazine, and has twice been an LA Times "Best Bet" and an LA Weekly "Comedy Pick of the Week".  Her work as a writer has been premiered at the Kennedy Center and broadcast on PBS. In addition, Heidi has significant training in early childhood education, including study with internationally renowned education experts and authors George Forman, Sydney Gurewitz Clemens and Patricia Hunter McGrath.


"The best young people's concerts we've ever had! The children loved it. I am still hearing from parents and kids how much they enjoyed the program." -Utah Symphony

"The children were absolutely enthralled- such wonderful enthusiasm and energy that children just naturally respond!" -Charlotte Symphony

"Their performance was outstanding. Our audience loved their energy and humor!" -Buffalo Philharmonic

"The best young people's concerts we've ever had." -St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

"Cool Concerts is the best Young People's Concert that I have seen, heard or performed and the musicians loved it!" -Flagstaff Symphony

"The most inspiring, non-preachy, magical program I have ever witnessed. Bravo! This was the best Young People's Concert I've ever taken my kids to, and I've been to many!" -Anchorage Symphony